Based on years of fieldwork and interviews with 129 human smugglers as well as scores of government and law enforcement officials, this book presents a rare look into the secretive world of the "snakeheads" (human smugglers) whose ingenious endeavors have transported hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants into the United States and other Western countries. The book is rich with vivid accounts of how groups of opportunistic entrepreneurs form loosely connected social circles to accomplish seemingly complex transnational negotiations. Zhang's findings and analyses challenge many widespread misconceptions about these smugglers in particular and Chinese organized crime in general. Bound together by little more than the pursuit of profit, these otherwise ordinary men have demonstrated remarkable flexibility in adapting to market and socio-legal constraints. The author's concept of the "dyadic cartwheel network" integrates major theoretical constructs to explain how and why freelance operators have come to dominate the human smuggling enterprise instead of traditional crime syndicate.
Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations
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