The trafficking of human organs is the illegal practice of selling and buying tissues, organs, and other parts of the body with the aim to transplant them. The problem of organ trafficking is underreported and has not received sufficient attention from researchers (Ambagtsheer, Zaitsch, & Weimar, 2013). However, those few who dedicate efforts to investigating this issue tend to consider it highly unethical. The phenomenon of selling human organs and tissues has received a title “neo-cannibalism,” and some researchers attribute it to rogue traders and mafias (Ambagtsheer et al., 2013). One of the major problems if defining organ trafficking is that it can take various shapes, each of them having its specific complications.
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Organ trade is forbidden all over the world since such practice is not consistent with the basic human values and contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Ambagtsheer et al., 2013). However, many people resort to this illegal choice and explain their decision by the numerous complications and inconveniences in the process of waiting for legal transplants. For instance, it takes up to four years for a person to receive a kidney transplant in the Netherlands (Ambagtsheer et al., 2013). This period is too long for some patients to survive, and they admit that they would rather engage in organ trafficking than put their life at risk.
Organ trafficking is closely associated with cultural and ethnic relations of individuals. It is reported that a large number of those patients that decide to buy an organ prefer to travel to the country the background of which they have (Ambagtsheer et al., 2013). Still, scholars note that the question of organ trafficking requires much more analysis and investigation for governments to be able to control it and offer viable solutions to citizens.
Ambagtsheer, F., Zaitsch, D., & Weimar, W. (2013). The battle for human organs: Organ trafficking and transplant tourism in a global context. Global Crime, 14(1), 1-26.