Human Trafficking: Organ Harvesting



Mortality is absolute, it cannot be bargained with nor eliminated. Every day people are stricken with some type of illness. Everyday 22 people die due to lack of matching donor organs. People have the option to voluntarily become donors upon their death. According to about, “30,000 people received transplants by 8,500 deceased donors and 6,000 living donors.” It is a matter of personal choice. With so many individuals requiring  transplants, a network was created to log in donors and recipients to better serve those in need. In 1984  the Organ Transplant Act was passed. From this birthed, the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network also known as OPTN.  The goal was to provide equal grounds between recipients and transplants. One could say leveling the playing field.  Since this brought it to a national level, organs could be transported in members of a certain location did not need a particular organ for transplantation.

It comes down to supply and demand. We commonly hear about demand for liver and kidneys. In fact, it has become so common that comments of expensive items tend to cost “ an arm and a leg.”  According to the US Department of Health and Health Services  as of May 31, 2016  at 6:10 pm “102,700 people requiring liver donations. Only 77,625 make this active list.” Parameters had to be established in order to ensure the better use for organs. This is to prevent increase of rejections. To offset shortages, there is  tests that are conducted in order to find the correct “match” for recipients. Initial screenings are placed to determine who can be placed on the list. Not everyone makes it to the list and some who do are at the bottom. It is not to say that those involved do their best to ensure everyone has a fair chance but the shortage is the push behind the forced hand. People who either are not high on the list or cannot meet the list succumb to desperation.

Desperation is an emotion that drives a person to do things they would otherwise not do. Whether it is the person in need or family members, it is human to look for alternatives. Some will seek holistic and alternative medicine others will find themselves entering the underground world. The objective is to save themselves and or a loved one at whatever cost.  This increases after a transplant rejection occurs.

The black market has been the underground location to obtain goods which are illegal. However, we are not speaking about stolen electronics or medications. Human trafficking  is usually connected to prostitution and slavery, but it also involves the transportation on human beings for their organs. Living people. This has become a rising problem and open opportunity for traffickers. The National Kidney Foundation states that people in need are added every 14 minutes! Kidneys are a famous organ in the market.

Traffickers will look for prospective victims or illegal donors in many regions, commonly poor areas. Some remote locations people stand in line to sell their kidneys. Other areas require a very delicate scheme for acquisition. Those who harvest organs place monetary value on the acquisition caring not for the victim. Ruses are created in order to lure victims. Promises of a better life is very popular. Better life could be financial stability through employment or attainment of higher education. Individuals who are enticed by these, will go with the criminals voluntarily. Others are purchased from their families or worse kidnapped.  Method of transportation varies on resources and funding. However, those who go with the traffickers forced or not come to the dark reality of things. They become victims and transported like cargo. They are either sold as whole or by organs.

It is not only a problem nationally but a global issue.  Psychology Today published the article “Body Snatchers: Organ Harvesting for Profit.” Dr. Archer, the author,  explains how even children are victimized from the UK boy who’s death was ruled an accident to the “6 year old boy abandoned without his eyes.” Some willing and others against their will. If it is so risky why do people do this voluntarily? Money. People especially in impoverished areas are willing to give up an organ for compensation which will ensure family survival. Remote villages in  third world countries are famous for this. Some recipients will travel to obtain the organ, negotiate price, and have the procedure done. WHO refers to this as “transplant tourism.” The organs go to the highest bidder. There is no testing for matches or health criterion which becomes a problem. Level of sanitized harvesting can lead to complications of the recipient. Some healthcare organizations have been caught, but most are done in less than clean environmental conditions.

This becomes a cyber crime as it involved electronic data transference. Whether it is a bidding war, negotiation via telecommunications, or by transfer of monies to an account either untraceable or located in countries who are non extradition.  Traffickers will prey on  the ones seen as naive, weak, or desperate. The world wide web has managed to open doors of opportunity even for criminals. Traffickers do not have a label on their forehead to identify themselves as one. They are sly like foxes and fast as ferrets.

With summer in session  many will spend it among the social life. We are the CCRA urge to implement safe practices in your home and life in order to avoid becoming a victim. Practice safe activities and do not let yourself be alone with strangers. Always have a person to check in with. When traveling abroad, never make known that you are alone. Online interactions whether they may be of romantic, casual, or platonic nature; never disclose information or allow them to see where you live. Falling into the hands of traffickers will make it hard to be retrieved no matter where in the globe you are. As a victim in captivity, what your purpose is will be unknown until the transaction takes place. If you suspect a person to be a trafficker or have witnessed an abduction, attempt of, or some form of luring, please contact proper authorities. Organ harvest is popular whether at will or through kidnapping, people are just a dollar sign.

By understanding how something works and entering into the mind of those who seek, allows us to veer from tunnel vision. It provides a deeper understanding of how easy they become targets for criminals. How desperation basically funds underground crime and those who are victimized. Here no one wins: not the recipient, not the family, not the “surgeon,” and not the victim. They all lose and as a society: we lose.


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