The Importance of Smartphones for Migrants


For migrants fleeing from war-torn countries, not charging their smartphones could have a substantial impact. This statement seems like a hyperbole but GPS services and SMS tools are helping migrants avoid areas that are deadly. They only have one destination and that’s where they’ll be safe so every step counts. Not to mention bandits, thieves, and border patrol scanning every nook and cranny for illegal immigrants. For this reason, smartphones are a necessity for 21st century migrants.

Social Media tools such as Facebook are a hotbed for traffickers to advertise their businesses. Interestingly, some traffickers boast about their great deals on Facebook posts and are receiving ‘likes’ for it. Just like any person willing to protect their family, migrants are joining trafficking groups to sneak across borders. Some groups even have a Facebook group that are public and private for the migrants to use. Just like any other ‘group’, group moderators moderate the group by allowing access to the chat. This is crucial because any information disclosed to the authorities will further complicate routes and borders needed to cross.

Not only are migrants using social media for route alerts, they’re also using it to reach out to their families. Many Syrians and other people going through a tough time after being displaced by war and conflict. So communication is crucial for reminding each other that they’re safe. Imagine how many friends and family members they had before being displaced. They’re no different from Westerners.

It seems that technology is helping traffickers but is that true? Notifications on the whereabouts of troops may be beneficial to traffickers but they are also beneficial for lone travelers. Therefore some traffickers are actually losing business because migrants have no need to depend on them. I’m assuming that this is good because traffickers transporting people are sometimes indecent and dangerous. Thanks to social media and technology, migrants can reach their destination safely.

I’m not going to get into foreign policy and immigration policy so let’s just leave those concerns about overpopulation in a separate post.

What is your opinion on this use of technology?

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