It is these snakeheads that offer, in addition to brokering resources needed for a smuggling operation; their transactions being dyadic, mostly for safety purposes and profit protection. Zhang in his book Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations: Families, Social Networks, and Cultural Imperatives, introduces what he calls the dyadic cartwheel network which basically is a description of the process of human smuggling. The smuggling process is an extremely specialized operation where every actor takes on a particular role and has no or very little knowledge of the other participating players’ activities. Effective operations mostly depend on the triumph of every entrepreneur; however, no single snakehead understands or controls the whole operation. Thus, these entrepreneurs interact only in dyads and, although the entire operation may comprise of several players, no snakehead entirely knows all members.
This arrangement has numerous advantages. Individual snakeheads equally rely on one another for a successful process, offering every participant power to bargain for compensation. Entrepreneurs such as those are capable of quickly adjusting to change. In addition, the whole process acts as a defense against detection, since no player seems to know or understand the functions of all the other snakeheads. In case one player is caught, s/he may be apprehended without dragging the other players along, who apparently are strangers to the arrested snakehead.