According to the American Transplant Foundation, 123,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list to receive an organ. Every 12 minutes a new name is added to the list and an average of 21 persons per day die due to a lack of organ availability. Corneas, kidneys, liver, lung, intestines, bone marrow are the most common transplant needs.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data of Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network reports 121,333 currently awaiting organ transplant of which 100,402 are waiting for a kidney. Only 30,970 transplants actually took place (legally) in 2015. According to the World Health Organization, America is one of many organ-importing countries and by the use of the web, patients can get transplant packages from $70 to over $160,000.00.
Organ trafficking is a form of human trafficking and is an organized crime. According to the UN Gift Hub, organ trafficking falls into three categories:
(1) Traffickers who trick the victim into giving up an organ for no cost, (2) Con artists who convince victims to sell their organs, but who do not pay or who pay less than they agreed to pay, and (3) Doctors who treat people for ailments which may or may not exist, and remove the organs without the victim’s knowledge.
The organ trafficking trade involves a host of offenders. As the UN Gift noted, there is a recruiter who seeks out the ‘donor,’ there is a transporter of the organs, there are staff of the hospital or clinic that receives the organs, and of course the medical practitioners who perform the transplants. There are also middlemen, contractors, buyers and the banks that store the organs/tissues.