Organ Trafficking, A New Crime of the 21st Century
NEW YORK—Organ transplant medicine is an incredible life-saving technology, under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of available organs, a new crime of the 21st century, organ trafficking, is supplying organs to people with the money to pay big dollars for a new life.
Organ trafficking involves the harvesting and sale of organs from unwilling donors or donors who sell their organs in ethically questionable circumstances. It is happening in many places throughout the world, but especially in China.
The scene of the crime requires a donor, a skilled doctor, and an operating theater. Often a recipient is also nearby, since organs do not survive long outside the body.
Carrying out the crime is tempting for criminal elements because it is highly lucrative, and the demand is so compelling. Usually, recipients are not told where the organ comes from, and surgeons who perform the transplants may also be in the dark about the source.
Photo: Facts and figures surrounding organ trafficking. © 2010 United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)