Mexican Drug Cartels Show Off Lavish Lifestyle in TikTok to Recruit New Members
Organized crime strategy has changed with social media being used to self-promote their lifestyle. Drug traffickers were seen on an inflatable boat speeding up as a Customs Surveillance Service vessel of Spain was chasing them.
The one-minute TikTok video garnered more than one million views, according to a Courier-Journal report.
Howard Campbell, an anthropologist and drug expert at the University of Texas at El Paso, said that cartels have long used social media to intimidate their enemies from other cartels.
Campbell added that the use of social media platforms has been proven to be an effective strategy.
"The use of TikTok is just the latest phase of this phenomenon," Campbell was quoted on a report.
David Saucedo, the Mexico City-based security analyst, also added that TikTok is being used to mainly promote a lifestyle.
Saucedo said that the social media platform is being used to show a picture of luxury and glamour, as well as to show the benefits of joining criminal activities.
Related story: How Mexican Drug Cartels Earn Billions in Drug Trade
Enticing Young People to Join The Cartel
"I've seen a few criminal messages, (but) what I've seen the most, it's a message to encourage people to join the organized crime," Saucedo was quoted on a report.
After the video of cartel members trying to elude authorities while in a boat, other cartel members started posting anonymous clips of experiences that they have recorded using their phones.
Other cartel members have posted about their luxurious lifestyle, including showing their expensive cars, exotic animals, and jewelry, according to a What's Trending report.
Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain's University of Murcia, believes that these videos are "narco-marketing." She said that cartels used these kinds of platforms for publicity.
As a response to the trend, Mexico's Federal Police have made their officers make their own TikToks to address specific videos and the trend in general.
Meanwhile, TikTok is working on removing the said videos from their platform. A spokesperson from the social media platform said that TikTok is committed to working with law enforcement to address organized criminal activity.
Even if TikTok was successful in removing the said videos, many were already starting to screen-record these videos and post them on other social media platforms.
Gang Recruitment and Violence
Families in northern Central America are fleeing the homes and seeking safety in other countries due to death threats, gang recruitment, extortion, and other forms of targeted violence, according to a new UNHCR and UNICEF survey.
About 20 percent of more than 3,100 interviewees migrating in family units said the violence was the main reason behind their decision to leave their communities. This violence includes death threats, extortion, gang recruitment, and domestic violence.
Meanwhile, over 30 percent of unaccompanied migrant children said that violence is the main driver of their movement. These children said that violence affected their access to essential services, which includes attending classes.
"The shift in the demographics of flight from the north of Central America reflects a grim reality on the ground in the countries of origin where entire families are under threat and flee together to find safety," Giovanni Bassu, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Regional Representative for Central America and Cuba, was quoted on a UNICEF statement.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!