A forensic psychological perspective on sham marriages as a form of trafficking, terrorism, and trauma: Implications for homeland security

Ronn Johnson, J.Y. Cindy Kim


Trafficking through sham marriages in its broadest context functions to circumvent immigration laws.  Forensic psychology conceptualizes sham marriage as a falsely contrived union between couples that has psycho-legal implications whereby someone seeks to gain benefit from that relationship.  Internationally, the prevalence of sham marriages often coincides with trauma.  A recent border crisis in the United States is a circumstance that fuels sham marriages. Sham marriages can function as a blend of cultural, political, and religious sanctioned terrorism with homeland security implications. Biopsychic social cultural elements of sham marriages are discussed and reviewed through a prism of terrorism and trauma with an overview of sham marriage as a homeland security matter. Trafficking, terrorism, trauma, and forensic psychology are integrated with the issues related to sham marriages internationally.  Finally, implications for policy, forensic practice, research, and homeland security are assessed. 


Sham marriages; trafficking; terrorism; trauma; forensic psychology; homeland security

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