The growing worldwide black market for organs most often exploits poor people who are promised money they never receive for body parts they provide, according to a sweeping new Michigan State University study.
MSU anthropologist Monir Moniruzzaman, who spent more than a year infiltrating the black market for human kidneys, has published an in-depth study on what he described as “ horrific experiences” of poor victims of organ trafficking.
Moniruzzaman chronicled the experiences of nearly three dozen Bangladesh kidney sellers. He said most didn't get the money they were promised and had subsequent serious health problems that prevented them from working, shame and depression.
The study, which appears in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, provides a glimpse into the hidden worldwide market for kidneys, parts of livers and even corneas.
Moniruzzaman said organ sellers are exploited by unethical brokers and recipients who are often foreign nationals living in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Because organ-selling is illegal, the brokers forge documents indicating the recipient and seller are related and claim the act is a family donation.
"This is a serious form of exploitation of impoverished people, whose bodily organs become market commodities to prolong the lives of the wealthy few," said Moniruzzaman, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences.
Moniruzzaman delivered his research findings to the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.