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蛇頭 Snakehead: To what extent are Chinese Organised Crime Groups involved in Human Smuggling from China to the United Kingdom?

Whittle, J (2019) 蛇頭 Snakehead: To what extent are Chinese Organised Crime Groups involved in Human Smuggling from China to the United Kingdom? Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Whether it involves people crossing the Mediterranean in rubber boats, fleeing conflict in Syria or in the rhetoric of ‘nationalist’ politicians across Europe, migration has been subject to more sustained political and public focus in recent years. However, misconceptions and misunderstandings abound about who migrates illegally and how this is facilitated. Media and public perceptions often confuse human smuggling and trafficking and assume the involvement of organised crime. This can be seen in discourse relating to human smuggling from China to the UK where Snakeheads are frequently said to be either organised crime or working with criminals such as Triads to both smuggle and traffic people to the UK. This research examines the extent of involvement of organised crime in human smuggling activity from China to the UK. In the process challenging assumptions and shedding new light on: Who is smuggled and why: Migrants are often portrayed in the media and by government as victims exploited by criminal organisations. This is though a contested area, with testimony from those who are smuggled frequently contradicting mainstream narratives. What a Snakehead is: Snakeheads are frequently associated with ‘Chinese organised crime’ however there appears to be little evidence to justify or explain this label. This research challenges this assumption arguing that Snakeheads operate more as illicit entrepreneurs offering and delivering a service (illegal migration), that is valued by those who use them. How the Snakeheads operate: Through assessment of the routes and methods utilised and specifically what services are offered (i.e. do Snakeheads just smuggle people or also help them find them jobs on arrival?) the extent of criminal involvement in the process can be gauged. Through analysis of the areas above this research argues that Snakeheads should not be considered organised crime, and that their links with organised crime are limited.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: human smuggling; Chinese organised crime; illegal migration; Chinese smuggling; irregular migration; China organised crime; Snakehead
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
K Law > KL Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
Divisions: Justice Studies (new Sep 19)
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 11:47
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 11:47
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00011949
Supervisors: Silverstone, D
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11949

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