Wednesday, September 2, 2009

10 Truly Shocking Facts About Organ Trafficking

This was sent to me. 10 truly shocking fact about Organ Trafficking.
Its rare to find a person who hasn’t heard of the urban legend recounting some poor guy duped into a situation that leaves him awakening in a tub of ice with a message indicating he must call 911 as one of his kidneys has been taken. While that particular story is not true, sadly it is based on some very real and shocking truths about organ trafficking. The unbalanced system of too many people in need of organ transplants and high levels of poverty worldwide have contributed to create a situation that leaves many desperate people willing to do anything to sell or receive illegal organs.

Read below to learn ten shocking facts about organ trafficking.
  1. People seized against their will. According to a book by UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army seized hundreds of people for involuntary organ harvesting. The organs were then flown to foreign clinics for transplantation. Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders have denied these allegations.
  2. Organs harvested from children. An investigation was started in Mosambique after several local human rights groups and the Brazilian Mission in Nampula notified authorities that many children were missing vital organs, with several of the children believed to have died as a result of the harvesting. Most of the harvested organs are believed to be sent to nearby South Africa for both transplant and religious rites. There have also been reports of children being kidnapped and killed for their organs in South America.
  3. Outrageous price of kidneys. 2003 estimates from the World Health Organization believe that the price of a trafficked kidney ranges from $700 in South Africa to over $30,000 in the US, with many other countries paying between $1,000 and $10,000 for a kidney. Recent news reports surrounding the corruption scandal in New Jersey indicate that a broker was asking $160,000 for a kidney, unknowingly to an undercover FBI agent.
  4. Sellers denied money and care. Many of the black market kidneys sold worldwide are done so by poor and vulnerable people in desperate need of money. They are typically paid only a fraction of the amount for which they are sold, and sometimes are denied payment by unscrupulous brokers and receive poor or no medical care for their recovery. These donors are often left debilitated by the lack of care, often not fully recovering from the donation. Sometimes entire villages have given their kidneys, like Villivakkum in India that is sometimes referred to as "Kidneyvakkum."
  5. Go in for an exam, leave without a kidney. In Egypt, one method of organ trafficking revolved around a hiring scheme. Young men were hired for a job and sent to a physician for an exam to ensure their good health. The young men would awaken in a hospital in pain and missing a kidney. Victims of this scheme have faced threats of violence when they have filed charges against those who perpetrated the crime.
Read the rest here.
I had heard about India and the practice there of the poor selling their kidneys since the early 1990's, but did not know about some of these others. The Rabbis who were arrested charged for matching donors with recipients, a practice illegal in the US and Canada, not for stealing someone's kidney. A minor difference. It is still despicable. And killing children for their organs is something too gruesome to contemplate.

While there is no truth to the rumor that Israel was kidnapping Palestinians for their organs, there is the story of Yoni Jesner.
Yoni Jesner, a 19-year-old student youth leader from Glasgow, Scotland, was killed in a suicide bomb attack on a No. 4 bus in Tel Aviv in September 2002. He was studying at a yeshiva at the time and planned to return to the UK to study medicine.

Yoni died in Ichilov Hospital the day after the bombing from shrapnel wounds to the head. His family agreed to donate one of Yoni's kidneys, which went to seven-year old Palestinian Yasmin Abu Ramila from east Jerusalem, who had waited two years for a suitable organ.

Speaking at the time, Yoni's brother Ari said: "The family is very proud that out of this tragic situation and Yoni's death that we were able and Yoni was able to give life to others. I think the most important principle here is that life was given to another human being."

"What religion, nationality, race, culture or creed is not what is important here," he added.

At the time, the girl's mother, Dina Abu Ramila, said: "I don't know how to thank the family of the victim of the attack. I feel for their pain and thank them for the organ donation that saved my daughter's life."
For religious Jews and some Christians, donating an organ is against the tenets of their faith. But I personally cannot see how this can be. For by being an Organ and Tissue donor you save lives. And isn't life the great gift that G-d has given us?

If you aren't a donor, look deep within you, and ask yourself':
"What if I needed an Organ? Who would be my donor?"

Then sign up for the registry. Give the gift of life. A gift that G-d has given us all.

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