In the world today there is a global black market for human body parts. Organized criminals from different countries act as brokers by placing advertisements in regions of the world where poverty is the greatest. Most of the black market “buys” involve the purchase of one human kidney from a very poor individual.
Organized criminals might offer an impoverished individual the equivalent of $ 10,000.00 to sell them a kidney and the criminals then sell the human kidney to a critically ill patient for $ 200,000.00. That is a profit of $ 190,000.00 on the illegal transaction.
It is projected that about 5,000 human beings will sell a kidney on the black market in the next twelve months. Francis Delmonico is an expert and advisor to the World Health Organization on organ transplants. Delmonico is president of the Montreal based Transplantation Society which lobbies governments to stop illegal transplants. It is against the law to buy or sell a human organ for transplantation in every country in the world except Iran. It is not illegal for an individual to donate an organ for transplantation.
In recent years, U.S. citizens suffering from acute kidney failure have gone to Nicaragua or Peru to receive an illegal transplant with a kidney purchased on the black market. Most of the illegal organ purchases have taken place in the former Soviet Republics of Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Moldova. Many of the kidneys purchased from the people in these regions are destined for people who live in Israel.
Israel has an acute shortage of organs because of Jewish religious beliefs. About 12% of Israelis are registered organ donors. These individuals have consented to allow their organs to be used for transplantation after their death. The Israeli number of 12% compares to about 40% in the United States.
The Israeli government is working to prevent all illegal transplants in Israel. To this end, the Israeli Knesset passed legislation in 2008, relating to organ transplants. The Israeli police have become very active in an attempt to end illegal transplants in Israel.
Nevertheless, the shortage of legal organs available for transplant in Israel has created a new group of criminals, mainly immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry recently broke up a criminal organization headed by a Ukrainian born Israeli National involved in selling illegal body parts for transplantation.
Governments around the world need to cooperate to prevent illegal organ transplants in the future.
R. Van Conoley