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Black market for organs - Five arrested in Spain for trying to buy immigrant's kidney

Organ trafficking

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(NaturalNews) It's a gruesome business, but a thriving one nonetheless: the sale and purchase of human organs on the black market. What's more, it is a "growing industry" that preys on the neediest among us.

The trade was revealed again recently when authorities nabbed a Serbian gangster in Spain after he attempted to buy a poor immigrant's kidney for 6,000 euros (about $6,800), then threatened to kill him if he pulled out of the deal, said police.

As reported by Agence France-Presse, the gangster was the head of a clan that is based around the sun-drenched beaches near Tarragona in Spain's northeast. He said he was seeking the kidney for his adult son, who was suffering from a kidney disease. The plan was discovered following a wider investigation into a Serb clan that stood accused of a series of burglaries in both Spain and Germany, according to the chief of Spanish police, Ignacio Cosido.

AFP further reported:

While investigating the burglary racket, officers found the gang had persuaded an undocumented middle-aged Moroccan immigrant to donate his kidney.

After undergoing medical tests, "he changed his mind, so the group detained him and beat him," Cosido said.

The immigrant agreed to go ahead with the operation after the gang threatened to kill him.

Spanish police arrested the gang boss and his son and three other people for the alleged kidney-trafficking deal.

Killed for their organs

In addition, Spanish police managed to round up another 48 people tied to the alleged burglaries. They stand accused of recruiting poor children to break into people's homes to steal valuables such as cash and jewelry.

Fourteen European Union countries met in Spain in March to sign the first-ever international treaty aimed at combating human organ trafficking. According to the Council of Europe, which drew up the treaty, organ trafficking generates some $1.2 billion in illegal profits globally each year.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 10,000 black market transplants take place around the world each year. In 2004, the WHO noted in a report that the trade was increasing dramatically:

Increasing demand for donated organs, uncontrolled trafficking and the challenges of transplantation between closely-related species have prompted a serious re-evaluation of international guidelines and given new impetus to the role of WHO in gathering epidemiological data and setting basic normative standards.

At the time, the WHO estimated that traffickers commanded between $100,000 and $200,000 to obtain a black market organ for a wealthy donor. Meanwhile, donors, who were "frequently impoverished and ill-educated," received as little as $1,000 to $5,000.

In April, the Daily Mail Australia reported that Chinese organ trafficking was a billion-dollar a year business.

No country is spared

The paper noted that a new documentary is set to "blow the lid" off the trade after researchers around the world - including human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian member of parliament David Kilgour - learned as early as 2006 that state-run hospitals in China were killing prisoners of conscience to harvest their organs.

The two researchers spent years investigating the trafficking, the Daily Mail reported. They say many of the organs likely came from members of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious organization with millions of followers that is banned in China.

"I can testify that this hospital forcibly removed organs, such as livers and corneas," a former worker going only by the name of "Annie" told the paper regarding allegations that members of the banned movement were killed for their organs.

"No country is free of this (organ-trafficking) phenomenon and we must all be on our guard," the head of Spain's National Transplant Organization, Rafael Matasanz, told AFP.





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