Museum of Chinese in America

Snakeheads: Chinese Mafia
& the New Slave Trade

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017

Time: 6:30pm to 8pm

Place: Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street, Manhattan


In conjunction with the Museum of Chinese in America's new exhibition, FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Structures, which presents the story of passengers of the Golden Venture which ran aground in 1993, MOCA is screening the 1994 award-winning documentary Snakeheads: Chinese Mafia & the New Slave Trade (Running Time: 38 minutes).

Filmmakers, including the late Peter Kwong (Distinguished Professor, Hunter College/CUNY), went undercover in Fuzhou Province to capture the activities of slave traders ('snakeheads') who bargained their fellow countrymen into indentured servitude to the United States. This lucrative trade resulted in an influx of undocumented Chinese workers across the U.S. After arriving, many workers struggled and failed to compete in the American job market and were tortured by their snakeheads until they located enough money for their payments.  

Snakeheads profiles the slave traders and Chinese laborers who were their victims, exploring issues of undocumented immigration, increased tension in communities like New York's Chinatown, and the human consequences of a race to the bottom in the global economy.

After the screening, Jon Alpert (DCTV, co-executive director/co-founder) and Ying Chan (Journalism and Media Studies Centre, HKU, founding director) will lead a Q&A about the making of the documentary and the state of labor trafficking from China to the U.S. today.

Downtown Community Television Center







Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2018

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: