With an estimated 120,675 patients waiting on the national waiting list for organ transplant, it’s obvious that the demand for fresh new organs is high, a fact that has created the perfect conditions for thugs, corrupt medics, and politicians to exploit organs from those who have nothing, then sell them to those who have much and in the process make a sizable profit.
Here are 25 alarming facts about organ trafficking…
1) Organ trafficking accounts for five to 10 per cent of all kidney transplants worldwide.
2) According to the World Health Organization, the illegal trade in kidneys has risen to such a level that an estimated 10,000 black market operations involving purchased human organs now take place annually.
3) Prices vary depending on the body part. But as an example, a heart can fetch up to 1 million pounds in the black market.
4) According to Organ failure solutions, Organs watch, and ESOT; the typical organ donor is a male of about 28.9 years old with an annual income of $480 while the typical recipient is a male of about 48.1 years old with an annual income of $53,000.
5) Those who choose to go through an illegal organ transplant face great dangers as the organs are not guaranteed to work and many in fact fail after the operation.
6) Organs are used for other purposes (not just transplants). For example, there is a demand for illicit experimentations from unethical scientists and even parts like the genitals are used in “black magic” or juju rituals.
7) According to the Department of health and Human Services, every month, more than 2,000 new names are added to the national waiting list for organ transplants, which had 120,675 patients as of publication.
8) About 18 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.
9) Some doctors, say that since demand is so high, and waiting times for organs from cadavers so long, organ sales should be legalized, but tightly regulated.
10) According to evidence collected by a worldwide network of doctors; traffickers are cashing in on rising international demand for replacement kidneys driven by the increase in diabetes and other diseases.
11) Some people have become victims of body snatching or involuntary organ donation.
12) In the U.S., there have been accusations (though no proof) of allowing patients on life support to die in order to remove the organs while the heart is still beating.
13) Sadly, human trafficking for organs is still generally seen as a victimless crime that benefits some very sick people at the expense of other, more invisible — or at least dispensable — people.
14) The organ trafficking trade involves a network of human traffickers including mobile surgeons, brokers, patients, and sellers.
15) Corrupt doctors often target children, especially those from poor backgrounds or children with disabilities for organ harvest.
18) Sites of illicit transplant have expanded from Asia to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and the US.
17) Some donors have resorted to selling their organs on eBay
18) Some have suggested that countries can defeat the traffickers by maximizing the supply of organs from deceased and living donors; and by encouraging healthy lifestyles which would help stop people getting conditions such as diabetes in the first place.
19) In spite of its awareness, trafficking is still increasing.
20) Estimates state that Kidneys make up 75% of the global illicit trade in organs and because of the rising rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems the demand for kidneys far outstrip supply.
21) Nato documents leaked in 2011 claimed that Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci was the head of a “mafia-like” network responsible for organ trafficking (among other things).
22) Lack of law enforcement in some countries, and lack of laws in others, make it easy for traffickers to offer financial incentives to poor people to part with organs.
23) Organ brokers in China advertise their services by using clever slogans such as “Donate a kidney, buy the new iPad!”
24) Patients (many of whom go to China, India or Pakistan for surgery) can pay up to $200,000 (nearly £128,000) for a kidney to traffickers who harvest organs from vulnerable, desperate people, sometimes for as little as $5,000.
25) In spite of the risks and exploitation associated with organ trafficking, some of the victims see the situation as a chance to save someone’s life.