Europe’s most poverty stricken residents, from the corners of countries like Belarus and the Ukraine,are being lured by easy money and empty promises to donate vital organs to smugglers.Bloomberg reports the practice is becoming a near epidemic in Israel where religious practices keep the organ donor pool at one of the lowest level in developed countries.
Illegal in every country of the world save for Iran, the World Health organisation estimates about 5,000 people sell black market organs every year.
This most recent Bloomberg report follows up on a June profile that outlined an organ-trafficking network reaching through former Soviet Republics like Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa “and beyond.”
From there these organs are heading largely to Israel.
With a generally well-educated population of 7.4 million and a modern medical system, Israel has an acute shortage of organs, in part because of religious beliefs. Just 12 per cent of Israelis are registered donors, meaning they have consented to let their organs be used for transplants after they die, according to the Israeli National Transplant centre.
That compares with 40 per cent of Americans. About 730 Israelis are currently waiting for a transplant, which is 13 times more than the number of such surgeries performed legally in Israel in 2010, according to the centre.
This demand has spawned a lucrative organ market being exploited by a new class of criminal who acts as a go-between for patients, doctors, and donors.
The middlemen will promise potential donors money they don’t provide and threaten their families if they go to police while making an incredible profit.
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