Wanda Quintanilla Duran

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10716

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Quintanilla Duran, Wanda (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "Honduran Women in the Migrant Smuggling Realm"

Recent flows of undocumented migration have generated polarizing public discourse, tied to national interests such as “security” and “employment” – both in the United States and in European nations. Often, this has led to exclusionary policies which have made the migrants’ journeys increasingly dangerous and uncertain. With the increase of deterrence tactics and dangerous geographies, migrants have had to rely on the labor of smugglers (also known as coyotes or guides) –individuals hired to facilitate the movement of migrants, using unofficial channels through security checkpoints and unknown, unsafe territories. While smugglers are often depicted as “dangerous men,” at fault for the increasing flows, and for “exploiting vulnerable and desperate migrants”, the relationship between migrants and smugglers is more complex. In this project, I conduct a multi-sited ethnography of the “smuggling realm,” in order to explore the role of less talked about (but key) actors in the process of clandestine migration from Honduras through Mexico. More specifically, I follow the experience of Honduran women migrant and smugglers to provide more accurate understandings of what entails a clandestine migration journey at its onset in Honduras and en route in Mexico.