An astonishing new report states that illegal kidneys are being sold "every hour" on the black market. The finding by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that in Middle Eastern countries kidneys may fetch as much as $200,000.
"While commercial transplantation is now forbidden by law in China, that's difficult to enforce; there's been a resurgence there in the last two or three years," a medical source told The Guardian. "Foreigners from the Middle East, Asia, and sometimes Europe come and are paying $100,000 to $200,000 for a transplant. Often they are Chinese expats or patients of Chinese descent."
The trade is so lucrative that there is at least one illegal kidney sold on the black market every hour. "The trade may well be increasing again," Luc Noel, a doctor and WHO official told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There have been recent signs that that may well be the case. There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made."
"It's ever-growing, it's a constant struggle," he added. "The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there."
This leads to a problem for authorities hoping to shut down the international trade operation.
Kidneys exclusively make up 75 percent of the illegal global trade. Of the 106,879 organs transplanted in 2010 (illegally and legally), 73,179 were kidneys. However, the WHO reports that that number is only 10 percent of the global need for kidneys. Decreasing health throughout the world is causing the need for kidneys to skyrocket, thus causing the illegal trafficking to increase.
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