Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Organ Harvesting of Trafficking Victims.

As if the poor and destitute don't already have enough daily oppression from all sides there is another facet to the evils of human trafficking that is slowly coming to light. Organ harvesting. Although this topic has been the subject of urban legends and inflammatory internet campaigns the practice is not new nor is it one of isolated occurrences.

According to most estimates upwards of 20 thousand dollars can be made off of a kidney, nearly twice that for a healthy heart. This is the most instantaneously profitable of all the heinous crimes perpetrated on victims of human trafficking, a fact that is not lost on the major organized crime syndicates. And of course children are in relatively better health than adults, being younger and having not abused or had their bodies abused for many years. So as with all facets of the evil of trafficking, children bear the brunt of the exploitation.

A high profile organ trafficking case in the year 2000 involved a Russian woman selling her grandson to "westerners" for 90 thousand dollars. The child was rescued but the amount of money to be gained only hints at the sheer number of criminals involved in this horrific practice. In India in 2007 19 women were found dead in an Indian slum apparently the victims of the organ trade. Three Ukrainian women were arrested recently in Italy as they attempted to sell a baby to undercover agents for the sum of 500 thousand dollars. The women were suspected of having completed several transactions previously. Annually, thousands of political prisoners in China are harvested of their organs moments before their executions.

Statistics are hard to come by, but it is estimated that there are 10 thousand victims of organ theft in China alone each year. The sheer number of women and children that go unaccounted for globally every year suggest that the numbers could be staggering. The fact that the victim is killed and therefore truly voiceless adds to the difficulty of putting this horror to numbers. Whereas in other types of exploitation many people come into contact with the victim at regular intervals and information can be acquired. What is clear is that current trends are alarming and that we must be vigilant on yet another front when it come to the war against human trafficking.

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