COMPUTER tablets are among the inducements to part with an organ being offered around the world as the illegal trade in kidneys spirals to the point where one is traded every hour.
About 10,000 illegal kidney operations take place every year – about 75 per cent of the black market of all organs traded worldwide – the UK’s Guardian reported, citing Dr. Luc Noel, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official who monitors trends in organ transplants.
The increasing number of people suffering heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure is pushing the rise in the illicit trade of kidneys.
“There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made. It’s ever-growing, it’s a constant struggle,” Noel said.
“The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there.”
WHO says organ brokers prey on the poor and vulnerable, paying them about $5000 for their kidneys.
“Donate a kidney, buy the new iPad!” a broker in China advertised, offering $3920 a kidney.
The organ can later sell for several times the original price, with wealthy patients travelling to China, India or Pakistan for a $200,000 transplant.
The practice is not confined to Third World countries.
Last week, a doctor and nine others were arrested in Israel on suspicion of belonging to an international trafficking ring.
“The people who gain are the rich transplant patients who can afford to buy a kidney, the doctors and hospital administrators, and the middlemen, the traffickers,” said Jim Feehally, a professor at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
WHO noted that the total of 106,879 transplants in 2010, which included legal and illegal surgeries, satisfied only 10 per cent of worldwide need.