Black Market For Human Organs Exploits The Poor

People living in poverty are more likely to become victims of human organ trafficking, says a recent study.

Monir Moniruzzaman, an anthropologist at Michigan State University, recently spent over a year in his native Bangladesh infiltrating the black market for human kidneys. His study as published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly describes in detail the horrific experiences of the poverty-stricken with unethical brokers and recipients in the growing market for human organ transplants.

Moniruzzaman discovered that recipients looking for illegitimate organ donations are often Bangladeshi-born foreign nationals living throughout the world such as in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. These recipients frequently use unethical brokers to procure human organs from the poorest members of society. Doctors, too, often overlook the source of these so-called organ donations.

Although promised large sums of money, the donors of these organs are often underpaid, if paid at all, and many die during their surgeries or shortly after.

For example, Moniruzzaman interviewed a 23-year-old rickshaw puller named Mehedi Hasan who sold part of his liver. The broker who procured the liver for a wealthy recipient in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka exploited Hasan in that Hasan did not even know what a liver was. Because of the surgery, Hasan is now to sick to work, cannot breath properly, and cannot walk long distances. He has considered suicide. Sadly, he has also not been paid all of the money that he was promised for his liver.

Hasan's story is repeated time and time again in a country where 78% of the parents live on less than $2 a day.

Moniruzzaman is using his research findings to make recommendations to stop the illegal market for human organs.

What do you think about the exploitation of the poor for organ transplants?