Real Organleggers: Human Organ Trafficking

What has been described as an "international human organ trafficking syndicate" has been discovered in South Africa. Nine Brazilians and two Israelis have been arrested in Brazil; several men have also been arrested in South Africa, one of them a recipient.

Apparently, the group convinced destitute people in Brazil to sell a kidney, then flew them to South Africa, where the procedure was performed. They were then returned to Brazil, $6,000 to $10,000 richer. "In all, they managed to talk 30 men into selling one of their kidneys," said the local head of the Federal Police in Brazil.

South Africa has highly advanced hospitals and researchers in this area; you may recall that the world's first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa, by Dr. Christiaan Barnard.

Science fiction fans know that Larry Niven was the first person to describe organlegging, stealing another person's organs and saving them for transplantation (that is, sale to a needy recipient).

Learn more about The World's First Heart Transplant; read the reference article from the BBC here

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/10/2003)

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