With the growing number of organ failures that lead to fatal consequences for patients, organ trafficking has become a falsely advertised solution despite leading to a number of serious consequences. Since the demand for replacement organs exceeds the supply, with patients dying every day unable to receive the treatment they need. In this paper, a brief overview of organ trafficking was provided, the key aspects of the problem were outlined, a case of patients who suffered its consequences was mentioned, and prevention methods were proposed. It was concluded that unified efforts were needed to eliminate organ trafficking was needed because regulations differ from one country to another.
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Organ transplantation has shown to be a very effective method for addressing the problem of organ failure and is currently practiced by most healthcare systems in countries worldwide. However, the lacking supply of organs available for transplantation is a universal issue, especially due to the limitations associated with existing donation programs being hampered by various legal, cultural, religious, legal, and other factors. Even in countries where organ donor programs are well-developed, the supply fails to meet the demand. Thus, organ trafficking appeared as an illegal answer to the problem of the limited supply of organs for transplantation.
As demand for organs is continuously on the rise, international organizations have invested into researching the cases of trafficking occurrence, and their findings are unfortunate. According to the report by Small-Jordan (2016) that combined the findings of multiple reputable organizations, 123,000 people in the United States only are on the waiting list to receive an organ transplant, with 12 new names being added to the list, and 21 people dying each day of the inability to receive the needed treatment. The black market has become the leading underground economy for passing transactions of organ trafficking since the 1980’s and continues being the most used vehicle that criminals use to sell organs to those willing to purchase them illegally. However, there are also occasions when patients travel to countries such as China, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, and others to undergo surgeries organized by local brokers (Rinquist, 2016). Such procedures not only lead to the abuse of citizens who willingly give up their organs for low payment but also can result in serious complications linked to the poor quality of materials and equipment used in illegal surgeries.
Davis (2017) reported several cases of illegal organ transplant surgeries going wrong. For instance, over 100 patients from dialysis units at United Arab Emirates hospitals traveled with their private doctors to China to receive a kidney transplant. Similar to most cases of illegal organ transplants, Chinese brokers recruited people in slums and poverty-stricken areas since they were the most likely to sell their organs for lowest amounts of money. In addition to this, the brokers did not pay as much as they initially promised. As a result of the procedures, many of the 100 organ tourists struggled with post-surgery complications such as serious infections (Hepatitis C and HIV) while others did not survive.
Despite the high number of cases unsuccessful illegal organ transplant surgeries, the global black market continues thriving from transactions not only because the demand is not dropping but also because laws in some countries are not as strict as in the United States. Also, there is a large number of organ trafficking cartels that operate in different destinations worldwide because the underworld economy has developed into a lucrative business that attracted criminals. The most notable rings include the Kosovo Crew, the Knights Templar Cartel, Eritrean Migrant Smugglers, Gurgaon Kidney Racket, Hebei Hookup, British Child Smugglers, and several others (Rinquist, 2016). While the operations of these illegal organizations are known, there is not enough authority and universal regulation to stop their activities once and for all.
Health care and criminal regulators worldwide have widely debated the way in which global organ trafficking should be prevented. According to Capron and Delmonico (2015), the removal of legal prohibitions on purchasing organs that is promoted in wealthy countries is unlikely to eliminate the problem because vulnerable populations whom criminals target will still be encouraged to give up their organs for cheap. The worldwide ratification of the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs supported by the United Nations and the World Health Organization will be the first solid step in the direction of eliminating organ trafficking. Programs to encourage post-mortem organ donations should be encouraged to push the agenda of sustainability and self-sufficiency as well as help the healthcare system overcome the high demand for organ transplantations.
Organ trafficking has transformed in a pervasive issue that is threatening to the loves of both donors and those willing to pay for surgery that is being performed illegally. The problem requires addressing because organ trafficking has become a business in the black market, and criminals abuse the vulnerability of citizens who live in poverty to pay them a minimum to sell organs to rich patients. The implementation of a universal policy that will make organ trafficking illegal is the first step while the encouragement of self-sufficiency through deceased donations can push the agenda and help in resolving the issue.
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Capron, A. M., & Delmonico, F. L. (2015). Preventing trafficking in organs for transplantation: An important facet of the fight against human trafficking. Journal of Human Trafficking, 1(1), 56-64.
Small-Jordan, D. (2016). Organ harvesting, human trafficking, and the black market. Web.
Rinquist, A. (2016). 10 black market organ trafficking rings. Web.
Davis, A. (2017). Organ trafficking. Washington State University. Web.