The advancement in human organ transplantation has headed to the increasing trade or trafficking of human organs because of the growing demand for organ replacement and transplant. The growing need for human organs results in the upsurge in organ trade making it an organized crime that goes unpunished in majority of the countries. People sell and purchase human organs either to make money or to save someone’s life but through illegal means. It is claimed that wealthy people harvest or obtain human organs from insane people, dead bodies, or even from the bodies of healthy people through force or coercion to overcome the growing demand for the human organs in the black market (Scheper-Hughes, 2016). Therefore, illegal organ trafficking takes place across the globe with numerous dangers and risks to human lives. The following research essay explores the causes and effects of the sales or trade of human organs that have led to the widening of the black market.
Organ Trafficking and Harms
Organ trafficking or organ trade refers to the harboring, recruitment, or transporting of a person’s organ by means of abduction, fraud, the position of exploitation, force, and vulnerability (Bowden, 2013). It is an extremely dangerous process with abuse and lurking dangers to the life of a person who is subjected to giving up on his organ by force or through the use of money. Organ trade is, therefore, unsafe for everyone because it is not legal and well-regulated by the authorities. It is dangerous and illegal for the reason that no one knows how the body can react afterwards increasing the chances of death of a person who sells his organs or receive the donation. Some people die during the transplantation process because their bodies cannot handle the procedure (Nullis-Kapp, 2004).
One point that is in favor of organ sales or organ trading is the number of lives of vulnerable people can be saved through allowing the selling of organs. However, this life-saving would be at the cost of someone’s life worth it. Organ selling leads to early death in individuals because one person’s life is cut short to save the life of another person, maybe the rich one. The donation or sale of an organ leads to premature death because of transplants of infected organs, murders for acquiring the organ, or due to a corrupt doctor who might not have knowledge or practice of the procedure (Russell et al., 2012).
Causes of Organ Selling, Trading, or Trafficking
One of the causes of organ selling is poverty which plays a significant role in the growth of the black market. It is a global phenomenon that has impacted a wide range of people and continues to affect the lives of vulnerable people to date. Poverty has created significant impacts on society and people and organ trade is one of those impacts that people exercise to gain financial freedom. People who are supposed to put food on the table for their families when failing become desperate for their lives, so they sell their organs as a sacrifice for their families because they need money badly to make the ends meet. Such parents or children who are the only breadwinners of their family do not hesitate to give up on their body organs because organ selling does not look like a bad idea to them when it comes to potentially providing for the members of their family (Scheper-Hughes, 2016). Thus, they resort as low as selling their body organs to get themselves back on their feet for their family and make life a little easier.
Another cause of selling organs or organ trafficking around the world is governments which harvest body organs from prisoners in jails or prisons. This is potentially caused by the people who by any means come to prison because they have done something serious or committed crimes that land them in jails or prisons. In the eyes of governments or the common citizens, people in prison who are subjected to life-long punishments are bad people because of their wrongdoings. So, governments try to harvest good out of such bad people and sell their kidneys and other organs to save the lives of other people who are in dire need of organ transplantation. China is notorious in this regard as the Chinese government uses people’s organs who are in prison through systematic harvesting to save people who are doing good for society to refrain them from ending up in prison by committing any illegal or unethical thing.
Another issue that leads to a problem in supply and demand of the organs is the exploitation poor people face due to the rich of the community as they excessively buy organs at higher rates. This exploitation has made the business for donation, trade, and sale of organs both unethical and illegal as rich people take matters into their own hands, refusing the doctor for the organ match as it is a long process to sit patiently with hands and legs crossed in a row for a call from the doctor (Russell et al., 2012). So, rich people who are in desperate need of an organ can arrange and buy it on their own while paying a large amount of money which has made the black market continuously growing for organ trading and selling.
Effects of Organ Selling, Trading, or Trafficking
Organ transplantation is a modern, legal, traditional, and advanced procedure to deal with human organ failure to ensure those who are in need of an organ will receive their benefits on time. However, organ trade in the black market has affected this traditional approach to finding the solution for organ failure the right way. The approved and standard methods of organ replacement and organ transplantation have been affected largely because of the rising illegal organ sales in the black market due to the high demand for human organs and the high rate of poverty in various parts of the world. The growth of the black market due to the high demand for human organs such as liver and kidneys engages people in illicit human organ trading which is also expected to rise in the future.
The effects of organ trading or selling can be to save a life or for personal gain which is the biggest factor of black-market growth. Personal gain can take a toll on the patient and his family who are in need of an organ but struggle to handle the cost if they are not from the higher strata of society. This leads to stress and depression in the patient’s family and if they fail to meet the requirements of the seller, a person can ultimately lead to death. According to a report, at least 17 people die each day because of the shortage of organs to be transplanted and also due to the reason they cannot afford the needed organ and the transplantation procedure. The demand for organs, therefore, opens a door for the people working in the black market to buy, trade, and traffic organs illegally which leads rich people to purposefully exploit vulnerable people into selling their body organs or buying an organ at heavy cost through illegal and unethical means. Organ trafficking has many poor people dying every year because they cannot get their hands on a working organ because wealthy people resort to unethical buying of an organ by paying thousands of dollars which has increased the rates of human organs in the black market (Francis & Francis, 2010).
It is a well-known fact that the number of people who are in wait of receiving organs has surpassed the number of people who are ready to donate or sell their organs. Resultantly, the market of organ trafficking has continuously been growing for a decade due to hundred of thousands of people on the organ transplantation waiting list. These unfortunate numbers have sadly grown the number of gangs all around the globe that prey on vulnerable people of the sick as well as a healthy population of the global community to achieve their nefarious designs of organ trafficking. Their preying list includes people who are sick and are in need of an organ or the people who are so poor that they cannot even make the ends meet and fall prey in the hands of those gangs for money.
This research essay has comprehensively analyzed the cause and effects of the organ shortage across the world and the trade and sale of human organs in the black market as well as many risks and harms that come along with this unethical implication. It is evaluated that the illegal organ sales trend is due to the increasing demand for organ transplantation waiting lists and the needs of vulnerable poor people who sell their body organs to gain financial benefits for providing a better life for their families. Moreover, transplants have the ability to help people live healthier and long life, but technological advances should be used to cope with the rising demand and dealing of organ transplantation. The potential of legal, authorized, and safe organ donations should be overseen by the international community to provide organs to those who are in dire need of the transplantation procedure.
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Francis, L. P., & Francis, J. G. (2010). Stateless crimes, legitimacy, and international criminal law: The case of organ trafficking. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 4(3), 283–295.
Nullis-Kapp, C. (2004). Organ trafficking and transplantation pose new challenges. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 82, 715–715.
Russell, E., Robinson, D. H., Thompson, N. J., Perryman, J. P., & Arriola, K. R. J. (2012). Distrust in the healthcare system and organ donation intentions among African Americans. Journal of Community Health, 37(1), 40–47.
Scheper-Hughes, N. (2016). Keeping an eye on the global traffic in human organs. In Health Psychology (pp. 579–583). Routledge.