Two days ago (7 Apr 2015), SBS Dateline broadcast Human Harvest: China’s Organ Trafficking.
Just 24 minutes long, it is a truly shocking story about the source of kidney and other organ transplants, with evidence from the doctors who performed some of the operations. Organs, including corneas and kidneys brutally removed without anaesthetic from tortured political prisoners, who are then killed and disposed of.
Not just a few transplants either. 10,000 organs are transplanted in China every year. Allowing for tissue matching, that may represent five to ten time that number of people.
China has become a destination for people wanting to avoid waiting lists and get a quick transplant. And who amongst us has not had that thought flash through their mind at one time or another?
It is hard to believe and even harder to watch. But watch it we must, to understand what the real price of jumping the waiting list can be: not just a risk to our body, but a Faustian deal with the devil.
This blog receives one or two offers a year from people wishing to sell their kidney or transplant tourism services with readily available organs for cash (some also offering finance at 2 percent!). They are mostly from India, Egypt and Nigeria, or they don’t say. I put them in my ‘limbo’ file, far away from the light of day.
Typical prices for a black (red) market kidney transplant in these transplant tourism countries.
Here’s a great 3 minute summary of the state of the rest of the world’s global organ trade: Organ trafficking: Who’s buying and selling human organs?
If you are not now totally numb and spiritually exhausted here are a couple of older reports that should do the trick:
The Body Snatchers (2012, 18 mins)
The Cruellest Cut – Pakistan’s Kidney Mafia (2007, 24 mins)