A major agreement bewteen the National Crime Agency (NCA) and five large social media companies has resulted in the removal of marketing material promoting people smugglers’ services.
NCA worked with Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to better understand how organised crime organisations exploitedthe platforms to advertise illegal services.
Gangs who supply small boat services to would-be UK asylum seekers across the English Channel have been openly selling their wares for several years online.
The NCA’s Chris Farrimond said: “The last year has witnessed a strong partnership develop between ourselves and the main social media companies with the overriding aim of preventing organised crime groups from using their platforms.
“Our understanding is growing all the time, and we now have a solid foundation upon which we can build by working together.”
“Tragically, the last year has also seen a number of fatalities both in the English Channel and further afield in the Mediterranean.
“This hammers home to us all the need to do more to stop these crime groups, whose members treat fellow human beings as a commodity from whom they can profit and have no regard for their safety or security.”
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said: “We expect social media companies to continue to work with Government to take down social posts by evil people smugglers and tackle their business model at source.
“We have gone further by introducing an amendment to the Online Safety Bill to ensure tech firms take proactive steps to stop people smugglers from conducting their business on social media.”