iOS app Android app More

Iraq Organ Trade Driven By Poverty

Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/20/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:40 PM ET

Aptopix Iraq Poverty

In Iraq, where a fifth of people live in poverty and where unemployment is at least 18 percent, increasingly more people must resort to selling their organs on the black market to make ends meet, Al Jazeera reports. According to the report, the capital Baghdad is somewhat of a central hub for the trade, with hundreds of people estimated to have sold organs such as their kidneys to dealers who then sell them for massive profits to desperately ill people willing to pay.

According to one man interviewed, "I got a kidney for my cousin through dealers outside the hospital. It cost us more than $15,000. Most of it went to dealers who take two-thirds of the amount and only one-third went to the donor." Al Jazeera also notes that donating one's organ is perfectly legal, while selling it is expressly forbidden. However, doctors in clinics who perform the transplants have no way of enforcing the law because there is no way to tell if the donor is willingly charitable or in pursuit of commercial gain. And as a result of the organ boom, many in need of new organs are now coming to Iraq from all over the Middle East, according to Al Jazeera.

Get HuffPost World On Facebook and Twitter!

FOLLOW HUFFPOST WORLD