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World Organ Trafficking

Filed under: brazil,china,disease/health,General,india — admin @ 8:41 am
Worldwide there are different forms of organ theft reported. These cases
have in common that they are scattered in various countries and regions.
In some countries reports say that organs were removed from homeless
people, in other cases those “donors” were offered a refund of a couple
hundred dollars in exchange for a kidney donation. All of these cases are
questionable and dubious. If these cases are related to living donors they
are limited to donations of a second kidney.

However none of these documented reports about organ theft has ever
aroused any suspicion that there would exist a nationwide, state sanctioned,
systematic organ theft from living people. The extent of organ harvesting
in China as described by witnesses, by publicly accessible data about
transplantations in China and by the Kilgour & Matas Report is unprecedented.
The data collected by Kilgour & Matas depicts a transplantation-on-demand-
system. The latter carries the potential to enhance transplant tourism to China.

In contrast to the totalitarian regime in China most of the democratic
governments of the affected countries that have encountered such forms of
organ thefts have taken steps to stop these degenerated forms of organ

The international trade in human organs is on the increase fuelled by growing demand as well as unscrupulous traffickers. The rising trend has prompted a serious reappraisal of current legislation, while WHO has called for more protection for the most vulnerable people who might be tempted to sell a kidney for as little as US$1000.

Increasing demand for donated organs, uncontrolled trafficking and the challenges of transplantation between closely-related species have prompted a serious re-evaluation of international guidelines and given new impetus to the role of WHO in gathering epidemiological data and setting basic normative standards.

There are no reliable data on organ trafficking — or indeed transplantation activity in general — but it is widely believed to be on the increase, with brokers reportedly charging between US$100,000 and US$200,000 to organize a transplant for wealthy patients. Donors — frequently impoverished and ill-educated — may receive as little as US$1000 for a kidney although the going price is more likely to be about US$5000.

A resolution adopted at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) voiced “concern at the growing insufficiency of available human material for transplantation to meet patient needs,” and urged Member States to “extend the use of living kidney donations when possible, in addition to donations from deceased donors.”

It also urged governments “to take measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable groups from ‘transplant tourism’ and the sale of tissues and organs, including attention to the wider problem of international trafficking in human tissues and organs.”

Earlier this year, police broke up an international ring which arranged for Israelis to receive kidneys from poor Brazilians at a clinic in the South African port city of Durban. But such highprofile successes merely scratch at the surface.

Countries such as Brazil, India and Moldova — well-known sources of donors — have all banned buying and selling of organs. But this has come at the risk of driving the trade underground.

Behind the growth in trafficking lies the increasing demand for transplant organs.

In Europe alone, there are currently 120,000 patients on dialysis treatment and about 40,000 people waiting for a kidney, according to a report last year by the European Parliamentary Assembly.

It warned that the waiting list for a transplant, currently about three years, would increase to 10 years by 2010, and with it the death rate from the shortage of organs.

In Asia, South America and Africa, there is widespread resistance — for cultural and personal reasons as well as due to the high cost — to using cadaveric organs, or those from dead bodies.

The majority of transplanted organs come from live, often unrelated, donors. Even in the United States, the number of renal or kidney transplants from live donors exceeded those from deceased donors for the first time in 2001.

Yet the Guiding Principles on human organ transplantation, adopted by the WHA in 1991, state that organs should “be removed preferably from the bodies of deceased persons,” and that live donors should in general be genetically related to the recipient.

They also prohibit “giving and receiving money, as well as any other commercial dealing”.

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