The violence surrounding global organ theft and trafficking is a direct result of lengthy periods of time for legal transplants, and the only way to prevent or completely resolve this issue is to re-examine the waiting process for transplants. Aliaksei Yafimau, as are most people, was always looking for an opportunity to make some quick cash, and he found this through what he thought was a profitable advertisement online that told that him he could receive a great deal of money for one of his kidneys.
At 30 years old, Yafimau’s profession was installing satellite television systems in Babrujsk, Belarus for meager wages. He saw this simple operation as a step towards getting out of poverty and within a short period of time he was transported to Quito, Ecuador where he was held against his will for over a month until surgeons could remove his kidney. He was held captive by Roini Shimshilashvili, an enforcer for of an international trafficking ring, who was an intimidating former kick-boxer.
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Yafimau pleaded with Shimshilashvili to let him back out of the deal and return to his home in Belarus; however, he was denied and threatened. He was told that if he didn’t go through with the operation, he would be left in Ecuador and his family would be killed. Yafimau’s left kidney was transplanted into an Israeli woman in July of 2010, and on the plane ride back to Belarus, Shimshilashvili told him that if he went to the police and informed them of the details surrounding his illegal operation, he would be killed.
Yafimau was paid $10,000 for his kidney, but he says that it isn’t worth the fear that he constantly lives with (Glovin, 2011). Dorin Razlog is one of the many poor people in Ghincauti, Moldova, and he earns a meager pay working as a Shepard. He is in his 30’s but only has an 8th grade education level which leaves him with very few ways to escape his current state of poverty. He was confronted by recruiters from organ trafficking ring who informed him that he could receive $10,000 for one of his kidney’s and he went through with the harvesting operation believing that this was in his best interest.
After the operation, he was paid $7,000 ($3,000 less than what they promised to pay him) and $2,500 of that was useless after realizing that he was paid with counterfeit bills. He was then told that if he spoke to anybody about the operation, they would destroy his house and kill his family. Looking back on his actions, Dorin regrets his decision because after all the money he received was gone, all he was left with was incredible pain and suffering from his operation (Glovin, 2011). Yafimau, and Dorin are just several of the many thousands of people that are victims of organ transplants every year.
Francis Delmonico, an adviser on issues regarding organ transplants to the World Health Organization, claims that approximately 5,000 people sell their organs to the black market every year. He accredits this to increased numbers of people that require organ transplants in relation to the limited number of organs available, and as a result, organ trafficking is on the rise. Organ trafficking is illegal in every country except Iran, but it continues because the trafficking rings target those who dwell in impoverished countries and they use violence and deception to coarse people into undergoing these dangerous operations.
The human body has two kidneys that filter toxins out of the blood system, and failure in both of these kidneys will result in a quick death unless hooked up to a dialysis machine or if the person receives an organ transplant. The operations that these traffickers conduct are not only unprofessional but their victims are in great danger because if anything was to happen to their single kidney they would be facing almost certain death. Delmonico believes that the people that are most at fault are the middle men who search for their future victims and organize the operations because these traffickers often sell the rgans for fifteen to twenty times the amount that they pay the person who underwent the organ harvesting to the critically ill that are in dire need for these organs (Glovin, 2011). Many of these ill people whom are desperately looking for organs often turn to trafficking rings. These people will pay up to $150,000 while the seller’s only make up to $10,000, and this is how these trafficking rings continue to operate (Glovin, 2011). The people that are purchasing the organs are only fueling the issue as a result more and more people are illegally selling their organs.
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The number of individuals that require transplants has greatly exceeded the number of organs available since the discovery of this new operation. 86,173 people were on the waiting list in the United States for organ transplants in July of 2004 and “on average 17 patients die every day while awaiting an organ; one person every 85 minutes. On average, 115 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day; one every 13 minutes (Kishore, 2004). The number of individuals whom require organ transplants that do not survive long enough to undergo the operation is staggering, and it has caused many professionals to ponder as to whether or not the current waiting list system is efficient. 6,251 individuals expired while on the waiting list as a result of their organ not being donated in time (Kishore, 2004). People are usually really emotionally moved upon examination of these statistics, however what people fail to realize is that the success rate of organ transplants in the United States is much greater than the success rate of other poorer countries.
Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, and Slovenia make up what is called the “Eurotransplant Area” and this area in even a worse state than that of the United States. The success rate in the United States for patients who receive a new organ is 92% while the success rate in the Eurotransplant Area is 24%, and this is most likely a result of inferior medical equipment and surgical techniques (Kishore, 2004). People like to believe that criminals are transporting victims to abandoned warehouses and tying them down to tables and savagely extracting their organs, but this is often not the case.
Most of these criminals are almost impossible to point out because they are often people that we are supposed to trust, such as our doctors, not some homeless person on the street. Bhagat Makkar, a British Doctor, was tried in court and charged with accounts of organ trafficking and was suspended from the medical register as a result. A journalist brought this situation to light after recording his conversation with Bhagat, posing as a son of a man who was in desperate need of a kidney.
Bhagat told the journalist that he could easily find a donor in the poorer cities of India and that he might be able to find a donor in London (British MD & Organ Dealing, 2011). Three Ukrainian doctors, who are now suspected to have been part of a much larger organ trafficking ring, were also arrested after being found guilty of trafficking the organs of road accident victims in the Ukraine and transporting them via helicopter (Doctors Arrested, 2011). These doctors who are partaking in this illicit behavior are doing so for their own personal gain although in court they often claim that they were only trying to help those in need.
Many of these doctors and clinical physicians harvest organs so that they are not put to waste, and this has brought up many moral and ethical arguments among the medical community. There have already been implications set in place, such as the organ donating system in which people agree to donate their organs after they have passed away, but this system alone is not providing enough organs to save the enormous number of people that are in need of operations;
Strategies such as liberalization of the concept of brain stem death; introduction of presumed consent; routine harvesting; required request; mandated choice; raising the donor’s upper age limit; relaxation of restrictions imposed on donations among family members; and allowing altruistic donations from strangers have not resolved the problem. Organ scarcity continues to prevail, leading to inequitable therapeutic dispensation; escalating costs; trade; crime; and premature death (Kishore, 2004).
There have been many cases in India as well as other countries that revolve around clinicians and clinical managers harvesting organs that have gone to court or that are still under investigation. Many people think that what these clinicians have done is extremely wrong, but they only did what others could not in order to save the lives of other people. These people that went against the law, but sacrifices must be made for the better of the whole. “Millions of people are suffering, not because the organs are not available, but because “morality” does not allow them to have access to the organs” (Kishore, 2004).
If everybody followed in these so called criminals footsteps, this problem could possibly be resolved without any violence necessary. Why has it been deemed criminal to save the lives of those in need using the organs of those deceased? These organs from the deceased could be considered a natural recourse and should not be wasted, but many people find this proposition to be immoral. 55. 3 million people die each year, and if each person was required to donate their organs there would be more than enough organs to provide to those in need (Ross, 2011).
This idea has a few flaws in regards to religious beliefs, and the fact that for some religions it is forbidden to donate organs. There will also probably be people that argue that this idea violates human rights. There will be groups of people that refuse to partake in this action, but if everybody else donates their organs after they are deceased for at least one generation, we would most likely have a surplus of organs and these could be frozen and saved for people in the future.
Doctors are currently able to use ice baths and a cold preservative solution to keep a kidney functional for 12-48 hours, but as technology advances doctors will hopefully be able to preserve organs for longer periods of time (Ford-Martin). Most people wish to have their deceased buried or cremated and claim that they would not want the body to be tampered with, however does it really matter what state the body is in prior to burial? Funerals are often seen as more of a spiritual process than simply the burial of the deceased. Faith might be one possible method for how to hook people into the idea of donating their organs.
The first step in this process would be to raise awareness, and this could be done through several styles of media such as television, fliers, billboards, and campaigns. The campaign could centralize around Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice and how is saved so many people. The ad could have some info on the increasing need for organ donors and then read, “What would Jesus do? ” It might cause people to not be so selfish and greedy. If that approach does not work, the campaign could try and scare the public into changing their ways.
A good model to follow would be the Above the Influence ads because of their successful impact on teenagers. These ads are made to scare teenagers into avoiding drugs by showing them the possibilities of how their bodies and lives could be destroyed. A commercial could be made to scare people into donating their organs so that they don’t have to constantly live in fear of being kidnapped and having their organs harvested and sold on the black market. These are a few simple ideas for changes that could be made to increase awareness about the increasing need for organ donors.
The number of sick still waiting on the organ donor waiting list is steadily increasing, and if nothing is done to reverse this, more and more people will continue to die. What most people fail to realize is that these critically sick people are often paying members of global trafficking rings to hunt down an organ by any means for a hefty price. I hope that people will eventually realize that donating their organs to save somebody else’s life would be an extremely caring act, and that it would be much appreciated. If that fails, we can then attempt to scare people and say, “How would you like to have your organs harvested?
This is a real possibility, but if everybody donates their organs there will be no business for these trafficking rings and they will eventually fall apart! Help bring trafficking rings down and save lives! ” Works Cited "British MD guilty of organ dealing. " Toronto Star (Canada) n. d. : Newspaper Source. 4 Dec. 2011. Web “Doctors Arrested. ” Herald Sun (Melbourne) (n. d. ): Newspaper Source. 4 Dec. 2011. Web Ford-Martin, Paula A. "Kidney Transplant - Procedure, Recovery, Test, Blood, Pain, Complications, Adults, Time, Infection, Operation, Graft, Medication, Heart, Cells, Types, Risk, Children, Cancer. Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. 05 Dec. 2011. Web