Black Market Sales and Why it is the Last Resort
Knowing a family member or friend needing their kidney transplant seems like a daunting task. Depending on the severity of the individuals need for an organ determines how quickly one will obtain an organ. The National Transplant Waiting List is available to the public and does not discriminate based race, gender, income, notoriety, or social status. The individuals in need of any organ or tissue are informed of the considerations made such as blood type, severity of illness, and time on list. Most potential recipients are informed that there is not a determined time of when a transplant will occur as there are not enough organ donors. More than 155 million people are registered as organ donors, but only 3 in 1,000 can become a donor when they die (How Organ Donation Works. (2019). Unfortunately, the limited number of qualified donors is not enough compared to the amount of people who desperately need an organ. Treatment may be available to keep your loved one alive but, some may not have the capital to utilize and maintain treatment. In United States 20 donor recipients will die today waiting for a donor. The illegal market (black market) is where goods and services are exchanged illegally. Transactions happen “under the table” to avoid government oversight, prices, or taxes. Vendors in the black market suffer from a variety of abuses, ranging from fraud to coercion. Black market organ sales are exploitative; however, some individuals turn to the illegal organ market and legal organ market as it is practical, the only alternative, and can be found in various parts of the world.
The demand for donor organs outweighs the supply. Which means the demand being high, supply being low means the cost of an organ is going to be expensive regardless of where the organ is coming from. A system that bases organ supply on altruism without financial compensation deters most organ donors. Which means the growing desperation and increased organ shortage provides a door to the underworld of the illegal market. Despite the negative connotation of illegal organ trade organ trafficking and transplant tourism remain widespread. The cost of a kidney can fetch anywhere from $1,300 to $162,000 dollars (Hall, A. 2015). The prices are considerably lower: potentially 10% of the costs if one were to purchase an organ through the illegal market. It is estimated that 42% of transplanted organs are illegally purchased Rothman, (S. M., & Rothman, D. J. 2006). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) illegal organ trade produces $900 million in sales per year with a reach of many countries. Transplant tourism is the purchase of an organ abroad, bypassing rules, laws or processes of any countries involved. The term “transplant tourism” is illegal in some countries but, not all medical tourism for organs is illegal. The only country that allows and oversees organ market is Iran. The Iranian government has multiple foundations for buyers or sellers around the world. Openly allowing payments of several thousand dollars that applies to their kidney transplant program which makes purchasing the organ practical and cost effective. There are restrictions in Iran regarding organ trade s there is an attempt to deter transplant tourism. But, due to the cost of organs being at a fraction of the cost and necessary demand for health organs deters the illegal market from halting this exploitative practice.
When a vehicle is malfunctioning, there are various options to treat the issue. Imagine your vehicle waiting on a list to repair the vehicle with the agreement that the vehicle may never be repaired. Human beings who need an organ understand that this is a possible outcome for them. Knowing luck can very well determine the survival of a loved one is not reassuring feeling. Understanding that life can only be saved by and from another life is a difficult pill to swallow. Unfortunately, the alternative to organ donation lottery is the illegal market. The illegal market provides the last opportunity any ethically conscious individual wants to travel to. But what are you willing to do to save yourself or a loved one? To this day individuals who are desperate for solutions turn to their only alternative, the illegal sales of organs. It is reported that in Korea over the course of ten years approximately 20,000 people procured an organ (Tribunal’s Counsel addresses UNHRC. 2019). Many people across the world turn to China as they maintain provide organs but the medical infrastructure to complete the transplant and rehabilitation. “The Dark Side of Transplant Tourism in China: Killing to Live” is a documentary that uncovers the evidence of how quickly a specific private medical center was able to assure the filmmaker in under 30 minutes, they would be able to receive a kidney for their family member in few weeks. Typically, anyone in need of a transplant will wait an undetermined amount of time and may very well expire before getting the transplant. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) attempts to deter other nations from unethical practice of organ procurement such as China. The Chinese government were asked by the UNHRC to address organ harvesting crimes against humanity (Tribunal’s Counsel addresses UNHRC. 2019). The sad truth is every nationality across the globe engages in the unethical acts of illegal organ market and enables countries such as China to maintain the supply and treatment of this necessary evil.
Being able to find illegal organ transplant may can be as simple as making a google search. Most countries have enforced laws to prevent transplant tourism but, this illegal organ harvesting, and transplantation continues. Donors come from all parts of the world and have reported to have donors come from India to the United States of America. In Pakistan according to the Sindhi Institute of Urology, approximately 2000 renal transplants were performed in 2005. Of the approximate transplants two -thirds were estimated to have been performed on foreigners (Shimazono, Y., 2007). In the Philippines data stemming from the Renal Disease Control Program of the Department of health, National Kidney Transplant Institute, show that of the 468 kidney transplants in 2003, 110 were for patients abroad. Currently the Philippines government is moving towards institutionalization of paid kidney donation and acceptance of foreign patients. China is another country that caters to international community of organ transplant. Most of China’s organ transplants were allegedly procured from execute prisoners (Shimazono, Y., 2007). The number of foreign recipients in China is difficult to estimate but media outlets provide circumstantial evidence that over 450 kidney and liver transplants performed in a major transplant center in 2004 were for non-Chinese citizens from 19 countries (Shimazono, Y., 2007).
In conclusion individuals turn to the illegal market as it is practical, the only alternative, and be found in various parts of the world. The illegal market is more prevalent due to donating for financial compensation or extracted unethically as the demand is for organs and tissues will always be high. Everyday people across the globe from different worldviews, genders, and ages need an organ transplant. Most will not be able to obtain a transplant in their lifetime if done through legal route. Knowing of the cost, alternatives and where organ transplants are done is vital if needing to save oneself or loved one from imminent death. It may be hard to digest but black-market organ sales will never slow down. There will be the demand for organ at a competitive price causing the black market to be a viable resource for those who desperately need organ. So, ask yourself is obtaining an organ from black market morally wrong? So do the right thing and become an organ donor. Young and old can donate increasing the opportunity for others to receive an organ in the most ethical way as possible.
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