Female Snakeheads in Transnational Chinese Human Smuggling

Sheldon Zhang, San Diego State University
Ko-lin Chin, Rutgers University

Rarely are women discussed as the instigators in mainstream criminology literature on organized crime. At most, they serve as the backdrop of male organized criminals as their accomplices or family members to which only fleeting attention is paid in academic research. In our NIJ current study, however, we have found women to be active players in transnational Chinese alien smuggling business. Some of them even have even gained infamous attention from federal law enforcement agencies, while others quietly go about their business, making handsome money by bringing Chinese nationals into the U.S. via clandestine channels. This paper examines their unique attributes within the cultural context and explores the challenges to the understanding of gender in traditional organized crime literature

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Updated 05/20/2006