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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fact: Organ Trafficking is On the Rise

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 66,000 kidney transplants, 21,000 liver transplants, and 6,000 heart transplants were performed worldwide in 2005.
  • A global increase in kidney diseases and a decreasing supply of transplantable kidneys have led to a substantial increase in the illegal kidney trade. In fact, the WHO estimates that just 10% of the demand for kidney transplants was met in 2005.
  • Conservatively, it’s estimated that 15,000 kidneys are illegally trafficked each year.
  • On average, one can earn between $2,000 and $6,000 for a kidney, however, there is no post-operative medical care for the donor. As a result, many donors suffer serious medical complications and incur substantial medical costs, leaving them with little or no money to survive.
  • Organ trafficking is illegal in Israel, Egypt, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, India, and Iraq, but as a result of poverty and corruption, the illegal organ trade flourishes in each of these countries.
  • Desperation leads many buyers to “overlook” or justify the illegality and inhumanity of purchasing a trafficked organ.
  • Kidneys (and other organs) are frequently used as collateral for money lenders in some parts of India.
  • According to the University of California, Berkeley, the majority of donors who sold a kidney to get out of debt find themselves in serious debt again shortly thereafter. Despite this reality, most donors would say "I'd do it again. I have a family to support. What choice did I have?"

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