Gustavo Banda spends one to three hours every day on Facebook trying to warn migrants desperate to enter the United States not to waste their money on human smugglers advertising their services on the social media platform.
Banda is a pastor who runs a shelter in a church in Tijuana, Mexico, where migrants end up after being deported from the U.S. Many of them gave their life savings to human smugglers, known as coyotes, whom they met on Facebook and its encrypted messaging app WhatsApp, and who promised them safe passage to America. When people arrive at his shelter, they’ve often spent all the money they have, and many have experienced rape, violence and further extortion along the way.
“I’m telling everyone that this is a complete lie,” he said, gesturing at a Facebook group in which migrants and coyotes appear to be interacting with one another on the laptop in front of him. “If they need help trying to cross, they should get a lawyer and do it the legal way and that I can help them.”
U.S. & World
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