Organ trafficking is increasing not only in Asia but also in some European countries including Belarus, Greece, Italy, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Spain and Ukraine due to worsening economic condition. According to experts, some impoverished Europeans are willing to sell their organs including kidneys, bone marrow, or cornea to be able to buy food for their families to survive. Organ traffickers are using the internet to advertise and sell organs.
The New York Times interviewed Pavle Mircov, a Serbian national who lost his job in a meat factory who advertised selling his kidney for six months. Mircov explained that selling one of his kidneys is not really a big sacrifice for his family. According to him, “When you need to put food on the table, selling a kidney doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice.” Mircov said he was expecting a buyer from Germany who is willing to pay for his kidney for $40,000. The man also offered to pay for the transplant cost and for his transportation expenses. The transaction did not materialize and Mircov admitted that he felt hopeless.
Mircov also said that he is not afraid of the surgery or breaking the law banning the sale of organs. He argued, “It’s my body and I should be able to do what I want with it.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Ratel, a special prosecutor for the European Union said that organ traffickers are taking advantage of the vulnerability of people suffering from severe economic difficulties as well as those who are wealthy and desperate enough to pay for any amount of money for organs to ensure their survival. Ratel said, “Organized criminal groups are preying upon the vulnerable on both sides of the supply chain: people suffering from chronic poverty, and desperate and wealthy patients who will do anything to survive.” Ratel is leading a team prosecutors responsible in bringing to justice to individuals from Turkey and Kozovo who were victimized by seven organ traffickers who made false promises of pay $20,000 for their kidneys.
Meanwhile, European law enforcements officials said that the Israeli Police imprisoned 10 individuals who are suspected to be members of an international crime and organ trafficking ring in Europe.
In China, a clan was charged for intentionally endangering the life of 17-year old boy named Zheng who sold his kidney to buy an Apple iPhone and iPad. Zheng’s health deteriorated rapidly after the surgery due to renal deficiency.
Organs Watch, a human rights group in Berkeley, California estimates that around 15,000 to 20,000 people are selling their kidneys every year around the world. According to experts, the main supply of organs generally comes from Brazil, China, India and the Philippines. Due to the global economic crisis, organ traffickers also targeted poor Europeans.