“Digital smuggling” – that’s the name of the new trend among brutal people smugglers. Migrants are lured online to sites like Facebook, promising to enter the country. In addition to “offers” and information, videos also mock the rule of law.
The numbers are rising: There were 41,909 asylum applications in the first seven months of this year – three times as many as in 2021. Meanwhile, internal security authorities are also registering a comeback of internet traffickers – known in technical terms as “digital smuggling”.
There are more and more sites on the web where gangs unabashedly lure illegal immigrants. Brigadier Gerald Tatzgern, head of the Central Anti-Smuggling Office at the Federal Criminal Police Office, also confirms this: “Several perpetrators using such profiles are under investigation.”
Advertise on Facebook
The “Krone” found one of these advertising sites for the lethal multi-billion dollar business. The professionally designed Facebook presence in Arabic script urges potential “customers” to flee to the golden west.
A map points the way to or the meeting point at a specific camp near a nature park on the Balkan route on the Serbian-Hungarian border, once declared closed by a former chancellor. From there we continue towards Austria.
Only profit counts
How brutal it is, for example, shows witness footage of a tugboat with a gun, which menacingly presses its hand on the neck of a young man.
Recent dramas such as the three fatalities after a chase or the two migrants who suffocated in a van on the eastern border in Burgenland prove that the gangs see people only as goods. The lower level, the drivers, is becoming more and more unscrupulous because only successful journeys to the destination country bring profit.
The smugglers’ website also features many “cheering videos” of people apparently successfully smuggled into the country. You can see smiling faces, for example, in front of Vienna Central Station or on the Danube Island. Authorities and our rule of law are openly mocked.
I am Ida Scott, a journalist and content author with a passion for uncovering the truth. I have been writing professionally for Today Times Live since 2020 and specialize in political news. My career began when I was just 17; I had already developed a knack for research and an eye for detail which made me stand out from my peers.