Pakistan and The Illegal Kidney Trade

Operating safely under cover or sometimes quite boldly, Pakistan’s organ selling business is thriving – and has always thrived.

Ismat Bibi from Kot Momin, frustrated by her debt burden decided to sell her kidney. With four children to take care of, a mentally disabled daughter a husband suffering tuberculosis and a debt of 100,000 rupees, Ismat saw it as her only refuge. The middleman told her that a person doesn’t need two kidneys anyway, hence selling one of it for Rs 110,000 isn’t a bad choice for her.

However, it still doesn’t solve her problems. The debts are only increasing and her 15 years old son plans to sell his kidney next.

“I am begging my son not to do this, but he is adamant. I committed a mistake by selling the kidney, but I had no other option to feed my family.” – She said telling her story to the Reuters.

Pakistan’s trade of illegal human organs is increasing and strengthening, usually webbed under strong businessmen and influential doctors.

As there is a shortage of donors across the globe, the ‘organ tourism’ has taken off as a strong criminal network. There are no accurate stats to tell exactly how many people sell their organs, some sources claim it to be over 1000 every year.

Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Babar Nawaz Khan says that Pakistan was the hub of organ trade, but in recent years, the damage has been significantly curbed down.

“Until last year, Pakistan was the main hub of this trade. According to some estimates, 85 percent of all organ trafficking cases were reported in Pakistan a few years back, but thank God, we are no longer in the top 10’’ – Khan said speaking to the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

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