Some people just aren’t content waiting in line with everybody else.
Wealthy people are bypassing donor lists by duping poor people in Bangladesh into selling their organs, according to a recent paper in the Medical Anthropology Quarterly. The investigative paper, authored by anthropologist Monir Moniruzzaman, examined illegal organ trafficking in Bangladesh, relating the narratives of 33 victims who were tricked by organ buyers into having their kidneys extracted from their bodies. (h/t The Atlantic)
Newspaper classified ads promising compensation with minimal safety risks convinced poverty-stricken Bangladeshis to give up their kidneys, the paper found.
The high demand for organs and long waiting lists is in part what fuels this illegal trafficking. In the United States, over 100,000 people are waiting on a donor list for an organ right now, according to OrganDonor.gov. And though 79 Americans receive organ transplants daily, 18 people die everyday because of shortages.
Many of the Bangladeshis duped into selling their organs didn't even get the amount they were promised, according to the research paper. The average price advertised for a kidney was $1,500, but 81 percent of those surveyed by Moniruzzaman said they didn't receive the amount they were pledged, Moniruzzaman said in an interview with Live Science. One Bangladeshi boy, for example, received $1,000 less than what he was promised, Moniruzzan told Live Science.
The recipients of these kidneys span the globe, and trafficking isn’t limited to Bangladesh. Last year, a Canadian man testified before EU judges, telling them that he paid an Israeli citizen $105,000 to arrange a kidney operation after doctors had told him that getting a transplant in Canada might take up to 12 years of waiting, the AP reported.