Illegal Organ Trade Essay

While it is most commonly believed that trafficking only takes places for commercial sexual exploitation or for forced labor, trafficking in fact takes many forms such as trafficking for organ trade among others. In most of the world, laws specifically ban the sale of organs but due to a high demand for organs and with long waiting lists for donors in countries such as the U.S a market has emerged for illegal trafficking and trade of organs. Black Market organ trade was considered a myth until recently evidence has proved that there are signs of it and it is starting to become a growing problem.

Organ trafficking occurs in three ways. Firstly, there are cases where people use force or deceive the victims into giving up an organ. Secondly, there have been cases where victims agree to sell an organ and result in being cheated by not being paid fully or at all. Thirdly, vulnerable persons are treated for an ailment which sometimes doesn’t exist and their organ is removed without their knowledge.

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There is a high demand in the United States for organ transplants, in the year 2004, United States Doctors performed 24,900 lifesaving organ transplants. The main reason why there has been a major demand for organ trade on the black market is that that right now there is a waiting list that features more than 80,000 people waiting for an organ donor. “In the United States, a new person is added to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list every 14 minutes,” UNOS spokesperson Anne Paschke told National Geographic News. With so many patients needed transplants and much less willing donors the waiting time is extremely long. “In 2002 over 6,000 Americans died while waiting for organs, according to UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) data”. With some cases patients might not have enough time to wait for a donor legally or else they will die so they will resort to the black market.

Right now on the black market the commonly traded organs are kidneys, liver and any organ that can be removed and used. I spoke with Nancy Scheper-Hughes who has spent more than a decade on tracking the illegal sale of human organs across the globe. She poses as a medical doctor in some places and a kidney buyer to gather evidence on illegal organ trade. “I have linked gangsters, clergymen and surgeons in a trail that led from South Africa, Brazil and other developing nations all the way back to our country’s best medical facilities”. In 2003 she found herself sitting across from transplant surgeons in a small conference room at a Philadelphia hospital.

“I believe that these surgeons had been transplanting black-market kidneys from residents of the world into the failing bodies of wealthy dialysis patients from Israel, Europe and the United States”. The transplants were priced at around $150,000, which allows only the wealthy to have this opportunity. She said “It is important that people realize what is happening here in our own country, I understand that the waiting time can be long but now our doctors our conducting off the record transplants to gain more money that is the real issue here”.

After taking a look at both side and hearing both perspectives I understand it. I get it, I understand why if you were caught up in a long line waiting for something to save your life and might not get it in time why you would want to take the shortcut and pay the extra money. Hell, if it was me I probably would do exactly that, although the thing that I can agree with that is wrong and needs to be dealt with is the removal of organs from poor people from poor countries who do not get paid their money or have their organs stolen from them. That is the issue we need to resolve and further investigate.


“Organ Shortage Fuels Illicit Trade in Human Parts.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. “Not Just Urban Legend.” Newsweek. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. “Black-Market Scandal Shakes India’s Ban on Organ Sales.” Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. “The Illegal Trade in Organ Is Fueled by Desperation and Growing.” SPIEGEL ONLINE. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. “World Socialist Web Site.” Dramatic Increase in Worldwide Illegal Organ Trade -. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. Campbell, Denis, and Nicola Davison. “Illegal Kidney Trade Booms as New Organ Is ‘sold Every Hour’” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 27 May 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. S

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