New report sheds light on trafficking for organ removal in OSCE region
( OSCE ) - A research paper on trafficking for the purpose of organ removal - one of the least addressed forms of trafficking in human beings - was published this week by the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro.
The paper is based on reports of cases in the OSCE region where formal criminal investigations have taken place, or which have been fully prosecuted. This makes the paper the first based on a qualitative analysis of actual cases. The findings confirm that many countries in the OSCE region are affected by this form of trafficking.
"Persons trafficked for organ removal endure a particularly cruel ordeal both during and after surgery," Giammarinaro said.
"Victims are unaware of the lifelong impact of organ removal; in fact they bear long-term and debilitating medical consequences including the inability to work, especially because they completely lack post-operative care or follow-up medical and psychosocial support. In addition, they very often do not receive the payment that was promised to them during their deceptive recruitment."
The paper also calls attention to the link between trafficking for organ removal and organized crime, the role that corruption plays in facilitating organ removal, and the transplantation networks, which often include administrators and medical professionals.
It also suggests a series of steps to prevent this transnational crime, which is headed by international brokers connected with transplant surgeons and local organ recruiters. Among others, the paper recommends to review national legislative frameworks to ensure they are adequate to punish all those who are part of the criminal networks; expanding international co-operation to pursue criminals across borders; working with the medical community to prevent unethical behaviour; and co-operating with civil society to better address the physical, psychological and legal needs of victims.
"It is my hope that this research paper will concretely assist us in developing targeted and evidence-based prevention strategies as well as strengthening the criminal justice response and enhancing our ability to protect victims," Giammarinaro said.