Organ Trafficking

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When one suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes it cause strain on the persons kidneys’ overtime eventually causing them to fail. A hundred years ago a person would have died of such a condition but following World War II surgical transplants from living and dead donors began saving many countless lives (World Health Organization). Thus in the case of kidney failure one is forced to go on to continuous dialysis until a replacement kidney can be found. Sometimes the patient is lucky where they have a family member whose blood type matches up and is willing to give up a kidney. But not everyone is so lucky many times patients are forced into long waiting lists waiting for their turn to receive an organ from an organ donor posthumously. Often patients won’t survive to see their name rise to the top of the list, this is the fear that organ traffickers feed on. In many places around the world one can purchase organs, which are often taken from the poor and helpless through trickery and coercion by international rings of traffickers. But why is it that with all the advancements in modern medicine, demands for replacement kidneys due to organ failure continues to rise. Furthermore why is it that these patients go through such extreme measures to buy organs from the black market where there are people being exploited when they are already on a waiting list to receive one free of charge from someone who’s giving it up willingly? Some argue that there is no reason for the world to worry about the organ trade. Let us take into account that many of those willing to sell their organs are living in extreme poverty. So if this is the only way they are able to help themselves get out of poverty is it really anybody’s right to tell them what they can or cannot do with their bodies. Secondly when one learns of that they need a kidney transplant they often have to wait a very long time until their name comes to the top of the donor list. This wait can be many years, for example in Ontario one can have to wait anywhere from four to six years (The Star), during which time they have to come in for frequent and uncomfortable dialysis treatments a couple times a week. But sometimes a person doesn’t have that long to live, in that case is it really wrong for the patient to attempt to preserve their? Finally in this transaction both parties benefit here, the donor receives much needed money to help them out of poverty while the purchaser has their life saved; creating a sort of symbiotic relationship. The reason organ trafficking continues is due to the rising demand far outstripping the supply. There are many causes that have allowed the continuation and growth of this industry. First of all, the demand for transplant organs far outstrips the legal supply. In Europe alone there are over 40,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant (Ginzel, Arndt, Kraushaar, & Winter, 2012). This demand is increasing and will only continue to grow as the population grows coupled with advancements in modern medicine which are allowing for humans to live for much longer periods of time (Ginzel, Arndt, Kraushaar, & Winter, 2012). The UN states that 106,879 organs have know to have been transplanted in the year 2010 by its 95 member nations, this number includes both legal and illegal transactions but still this only satisfies 10% of the global need (Campbell & Davidson, 2012). Those 106,879 organs include but are not limited to the 10,000 illegal kidneys that UN estimates are transplanted yearly but other sources claim the number could be as high as 20,000 (Ginzel, Arndt, Kraushaar, & Winter, 2012). Most importantly, this business has potential for massive profits for those who traffic the organs. “WHO [World Health Organization] estimates 10,000 black market operations involving human organs take place each year” (Campbell & Davidson, 2012). For a kidney transaction, which account for 75% of the elicit organ...
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