Built on death and deception: Transplant tourism in China

“Organs are now big business in China,” the BBC reported in 2006.  “But it’s one built on death and deception.

Although it is a technical departure from “slavery,” the commodification of the human body occurs whether living bodies are bonded into slavery, or just… harvested.

Benjamin Skinner’s “A Crime So Monstrous” told of one trafficker who thought it might have been more profitable if he had sold one of his slave’s organs by the kilo rather than trying to sell her for sex. Because she was ugly.

Wealthy Westerners in need of transplants frequently engage in “transplant tourism,” traveling to developing countries for discounted organs.

The Initiative on Global Organ Trafficking says,

“The most notorious hotspots include India, Pakistan, China, Central and South America, and the Philippines. Other trafficking rings are in South Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. People rarely sell their organs in developed countries, such as the U.S., Europe, Australia, or Japan. Rather, buyers from these countries usually travel to impoverished organ trade hotspots to engage in transplant tourism.”

This NGO claims that transplant tourism, and of course illegal organ trafficking, is unethical because most “donors” selling their parts are unaware of the real consequences and do not receive medical follow-up.

In the worst cases, they don’t even have a choice.

China executes more prisoners per year than the entire rest of the world combined. The BBC reports that many of the organs obtained in China are harvested from executed prisoners before being given to transplant tourists.

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