Much of our understanding of the business model of snakeheads is inaccurate. We assume that the popular fiction or worst portrayals in media are accurate. Snakeheads are paid in advance by families. This information is confirmed in multiple conversations over years. The idea is to get the person indebted to their family in China. Some snakeheads also smuggle currency back to the families in China.
The oft repeated theories of people working to pay the snakehead is not accurate.
The rehearsed asylum claims racket is another story.