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Organs for Sale

Awareness of human, drug, and gun trafficking is growing, but, the trafficking of human organs still seems to have gone unnoticed. The organ trade seems so sensational that many still believe it’s a myth.
The illegal trafficking of human organs, involving the trade of internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) for money, is very real. The shortage of human organs for successful transplants is a dire situation across the globe, and abusing the organ transplant system is very easy. Impoverished people in developing regions, like in South Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia are the main targets for harvesting organs. These people may be approached by crime organizations who will buy an organ from them. The surgeon is not required to be skilled; the surgical environment is not required to be sterile. All bioethical procedures are quickly disposed in the trade. The illegal organ trade is a billion dollar business; a kidney could sell from $5,000 to $200,000. The poor are being targeted for their organs, either being killed or maimed in the process of the surgery, or being kidnapped or cheated out of a “fair” price for their body. Many of these organs go to Europe and the United States. A few Americans and Europeans are receiving trafficked organs; they may or may not know from whom or where their new liver came. Many surgeons in the U.S. don’t know, or have turned a blind eye. The illegal organ trade is very difficult to police, as unwilling “donors” may never contact authorities, and organ traffickers may go to countries whose laws cannot keep their activities restricted. This is a crime that is hard to stop, especially in cases of government executions, where authorities cannot prove if a prisoner was executed for his body parts or not.
The main issue of the illegal trafficking of human organs is the exploitation. Criminal networks of organ buyers, sellers, and harvesters are purposely targeting “third world” countries, devaluing the lives of the citizens and paying these people very little for something that affects their health and has the potential to kill them. The “donors” lose the most in the traffic of organs, while traffickers, hospitals and the patients who can afford to pay for these organs are gaining the most. What also makes this issue tricky is that organs are something the world desperately needs, so turning a blind eye toward the abuse is easy. But, a small group of people benefit from the suffering of “invisible donors.” How should the world respond to this “mythical” injustice? Luc Noel, an official of the World Health Organization, suggest that the way the globe can curtail this injustice is by increasing the supply of organs from deceased and living donors, as well as promoting better health as to avoid diseases that cause the dysfunction of an organ. I don’t think that is enough. Governments across the globe must work towards awareness of these crimes, through supporting the economic growth and the basic human rights of impoverished communities in the world.

Sources:
The Guardian
Inter Press Services
Epoch Times
The Daily Beast

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