Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations: Families, Social Networks, and Cultural Imperatives / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is a path-breaking book . . . [T]his book is an important addition to a rising list of recent books to understand the international migration from China's Fujian province. It provides extremely valuable empirical knowledge about smuggling operation. Its innovative theoretical model proves to be very useful in explaining Chinese human smuggling and also holds potential for examining human smuggling in other settings as well."—Zai Lang, China Review International

"Zhang offers some very stark conclusions and recommendations . . . [An] important and timely book."—James O. Finckernauer, American Journal of Sociology

"Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations is an important book that offers essential information for policy makers, law enforcement, and academics interested in this large and profitable illicit market." —University of Toronto, Margaret Beare

"This highly informative and data-rich book sheds new light on a topical and popular criminological subject. It is highly recommended to all those who are interested in transnational crime studies." —Trends in Organized Crime

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804757416
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,319,214
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheldon X. Zhang is Professor and Chair of Sociology at San Diego State University. He is currently the principal investigator for two research grants funded by the California Department of Corrections and co-principal investigator on a large grant funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xix
Snakeheads and Human Smuggling Operations
Coming to America: Illegal Chinese Migration to the United States     3
Becoming a Snakehead     23
Recruitment, Preparation, and Departure     42
Smuggling Activities in Transit     64
Arrival and Payment Collection in America     81
Making Money from Human Smuggling     93
The Human Smuggling Organization
Organizational and Operational Characteristics     105
The Dyadic Cartwheel Network     132
Human Smuggling and Traditional Chinese Organized Crime     155
Women and Chinese Human Smuggling     182
The Future of Chinese Human Smuggling     208
Epilogue     235
Research Sites     239
Research Method     240
Notes     249
Glossary     255
References     259
Index     273
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