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UN.GIFT Publications

OSCE: Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal in the OSCE region
Jul 10 2013
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Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal (THB/OR) has long remained a subject of rumour and unconfirmed reports. Since the 1980s, however, a growing body of fieldwork and other research by journalists and medical anthropologists has documented cases of such trafficking, particular- ly in the past fifteen years, as the demand for organs continues to grow. That research has shed light on this phenomenon, in part, through detailed portraits of victims, recipients and those engaged in directing or otherwise furthering the organ removal networks. Patients in wealthier countries, languishing on waiting lists, are increasingly travelling abroad to obtain the required organ. The victim-donors are generally suf- fering from acute poverty and are deceived or coerced by the trafficking networks into giving up an organ for a mere fraction of the money the recipient has paid the traffickers.  This study is based primarily on desk research and analysis. In addition, a number of interviews and meetings with persons knowledgeable about THB/ OR were conducted, mostly by telephone and e-mail. The research was focused on the following areas: (a) general research on THB/OR and responses by inter- national organizations and national authorities; (b) focused research on countries, identified during the general research, where THB/OR has been identified; (c) further focused research to identify the progress and status of cases of THB/OR that had led to investi- gations and actual prosecutions.