Crisis-stricken Europeans resort to illegal organ trade
By Kim Eun-ji
Poor people in crisis-stricken European countries like Spain, Italy and Serbia are risking illegal organ sales for extra money, officials said.
The human organ trade is banned by law in many countries including Serbia, resulting in a flourishing black market these days.
“Organized criminal groups are preying upon the vulnerable on both sides of the supply chain, people suffering from chronic poverty, and desperate wealthy patients who are willing to do anything to survive,” said Jonathan Ratel, a European Union special prosecutor, as quoted in The New York Times.
Often, the sellers never see a penny, he said.
Despite its legal strains and plausible danger, the financial gains that can be up to 250,000 euros, or about 366 million won, are attractive for people like Pavle Mircov, who could not afford a tombstone for his recently deceased father.
Mircov posted a sales ad for one of his kidneys for 30,000 euro, equivalent to about 44 million won, on an online classified website. The trade could cost him up to 10 years in jail if discovered.
“When you need to put food on the table, selling a kidney doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice,” the 50-year-old Serbian told The NYT. “I’m more afraid of not having money to take care of my children [than the eventual operation].”
There have been no Serbian police records on organ trafficking in the past decade, but experts have claimed that it is difficult to trace the practice that is done underground, said the paper.