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Organ Brokers

Organ brokers reach across continents to connect buyers and sellers of human organs.

It is illegal to buy or accept money for a human organ but many surgeons are willing to turn a blind eye. The organ donor usually gets a few thousand dollars for their trouble plus the chance to see an American city. And the organ broker charges the buyer about $150.000. These brokers reach across continents to connect the buyers and sellers.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes an anthropologist from the University of California has investigated the illegal traffic in human organs for ten years.Through information she has uncovered during her investigation she believes surgeons at a big Philadelphia hospital have been transplanting black market organs from the poorest impoverished people into rich dialysis patients from Israel, Europe and the United States. She has sixty pages of documented interviews with buyers, sellers, and brokers from every corner of the earth. Former transplant patients have told her that the Philadelphia Hospital is a good place to go for a brokered transplant. Two surgeons were named over and over again.

 Scheper-Hughes sometimes poses as a doctor or broker to collect her information. She has linked clergymen, surgeons,and gangsters from South Africa,Brazil and other under developed countries back to our own best medical facilities. She sat down for an interview at this Philadelphis hospital but could not acertain if they knowlingly did anything wrong. Afterwards they did tighten some regulations at the hospital to ensure better control of  foreign donors and recipients. But says, Scheper-Hughes  “After the interview, they basically threw me out.

It is illegal in every country except Iran to buy and sell human organs. But organ trafficing still flourishes. Kidneys, half livers, skin, eyes, and blood are brokered every day. It’s a case of supply and demand. In the United States alone people in need of a transplant have tripled in the last ten years, topping 100.000. While organ donors are still only 5,000 to 8,000 a year.

For Scheper-Hughes the most difficult part is getting people to believe the problem exists at all. “It used to be a joke that came up at conferences and between surgeons.”she says. It was in books and movies that you had people waking up in a tub of ice with a scar where a kidney used to be.  Because people do donate an organ out of kindness it provides an easy cover for those seeking profit. The seller can be out of the hospital  with his pay within a day.

Diflo who has worked in numerous hospitals over the last twenty years, says that hospitals who preform illegal transplants certainly exist in the United States. There are hospitals who have a reputation for doing transplants with paid donors, and some hospitals have a “don’t ask” “don’t tell” policy. Nancy has done outstanding work, literally risking her life to expose these networks.

Even as illegal trade is exposed, a roster of Web sites promising to match desperate dialysis patients with strangers continues to proliferate unchecked. “We have no way to know if money is changing hands or not,”says Diflo.  People need transplants and the donors want the money. In the United States the wait for a kidney is expected to increase to ten years by 2010. Most dialysis patients die in half that time.

The price of a kidney in nine countries;

Iraq; $750-1,000   Phillippines; $1,500   India; $1,500    Moldove,Romania; $2,700   Brazil; $6,000  Turkey;$7,500   Peru; $10,000   Israel; $10,000-20,000   United States; $30,000

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User Comments
  1. denus

    On January 22, 2009 at 4:56 am

    excellent article.

  2. Christine Ramsay

    On January 22, 2009 at 6:48 am

    A very interesting and controversial article. People do need the organs but I am not sure I agree with paying for them.


  3. OhSugar

    On January 22, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I don’t agree in paying for organs. However, if one of my love ones needed an organ, and paying for it was the only way to get it, would I pay for it? This would be a hard decision.

  4. Sotiris

    On January 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Organs should be free :( . People take advantage of that and sell it for large sum of money!

  5. Jenny Heart

    On January 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Yes, I believe organs should be free. Great job!

  6. HatedNation

    On January 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Anyone need a kidney? I could use $30,000.

  7. Glynis Smy

    On January 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I feel it is sad. This is a good article.

  8. Joie Schmidt

    On January 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    This is very eyeopening.



    -Liane Schmidt.

  9. Little Miss Lizzy

    On January 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    No-one would sell a piece of their body unless they were desperate. That is what makes the issue so sad…desperate people who buy and desperate people who need to sell because they are on the breadline or below it. Expanding the donor program and publicising is the better way. Good article.

  10. Morgana

    On January 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    It sounds so crazy and scary, but I know it’s true , nonetheless.

  11. Joni Keith

    On January 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    This is sad. It’s sad to think that there are people that need money that badly and sad to think that those with enough money can save their own lives while others wait on the donor list. This is a very informative article.

  12. James DeVere

    On January 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Ruby, nice seeing a challenging
    article from you and finding someone
    who can spell, “Web site” correctly!
    Thanks – j

  13. Brenda Nelson

    On January 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    where there are needy/rich buyers.. there will always be this problem

  14. Shirley Shuler

    On January 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Very interesting article and yes, I think organs
    should be free!!

  15. Juhls

    On January 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm


    Have you watched dirtyprettythings? I watched it years ago… it is a film from the UK and is based on this that you spoke of. Audrey Tautou (of Amelie and Di Vinci Code fame) is a lead actress in it. I highly recommend everyone to see it. It is very dark, very frustrating, very real. It is my one of my top favourite movies because it is so moving — you become so involved in the story, you want to do something to stop it. Yet, you feel badly yet can see the many different angles and why different people are involved in it.

    Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas

  16. rutherfranc

    On January 22, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I see a debate coming.. If it`s for a loved one, it should be free. But if the donor cannot work anymore to provide for his family after the donation, he should be compensated..

  17. Eunice Tan

    On January 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Interesting and informative, Ruby

  18. JadeLuv

    On January 22, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    That is so crazy, but so true. The things people do to make a living are crazy.

  19. Johnny Yuma

    On January 23, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Ruby this is an interesting article–very interesting. I can’t see paying for an organ–or donating one either. I might need that other kidney in the future; however, if it was some of my family I could be convinced to change my mind really quick. Some of them mean more to me than my own life does. I hope, however, that it doesn’t come to that.
    Great article my friend!
    Johnny Yuma

  20. Emma J Kerry

    On January 23, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Really interesting article. It is sad that it has to come to this due to lack of money and legitimate donors.

  21. loafer

    On January 23, 2009 at 2:30 am

    so true, who wants to have his kidney cut without compensation…?

  22. Inna Tysoe

    On January 23, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Thank you for helping to shine a light on this.


  23. Anne Lyken Garner

    On January 23, 2009 at 7:46 am

    $1,000 is way too cheap. I know that I sound unfeeling, but if this is to go on behind our backs (it will go on for a long time, I’m sure), at least the poor people should be able to make a difference in their lives. One thousand can do nothing for them or their families – if they die.

    Also, this wouldn’t go on, if everyone refused to sell their body parts. Again, I know I sound unfeeling, but it struck me as a two-way situation where people are actually willing to do this.

  24. Ruby Hawk

    On January 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    It is difficult. So many people need the organs and so many poor people are willing to give up an organ for money.The donors should at the least be well paid but I suppose they feel they are well paid when they have so little. I have known three people who died while on dialysis and I know two who are on dialysis now. I myself have failing kidneys so I can understand the problem. I would never ask anyone to give up a kidney for me but I know how difficult it is for those involved.

  25. PR Mace

    On January 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    I know this goes on but it almost sounds like something out of science fiction. I have even read other articles where people are murdered for their organs.This is a terrible situation for all parties, the ones in need of an organ and the ones selling them.

  26. ML Sheldon

    On January 24, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Very good article. I have a hard time deciding what is “right” in this situation. There are so many health risks that can be posed, and yet so many lives that can be saved. It’s definitely a tough call.

  27. Michelle Parker

    On January 25, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Dear Ruby,
    It is a problem that I was aware about and I am personally an organ donor and have been since I was 18. I am now 36. Where I am going I don’t need my organs and if it saves a few lives or gives someone sight then I have left this world giving someone or many someones at a chance of life. If more people became donors would there still be a black market for organs? What a great article you have written hon and one story that certainly had to be told.
    Love Shelley.

  28. eddiego65

    On January 28, 2009 at 3:42 am

    An eye-opening and controversial article. Thanks for making us aware of the issue.

  29. Speed Limit

    On January 30, 2009 at 2:45 am

    A truly excellent article.

  30. Daisy Peasblossom

    On February 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    It’s an ugly world out there. As an avid science fiction reader, I have been aware of the organ donor issue for many years. I was advised by a friend NOT to put “organ donor” on my driver’s license. Instead, he said, this should be information given to next of kin, and written into your will. According to the friend, in certain areas, people with “organ donor”on their license tend to have a shorter life expectancy is some emergency rooms. Since my response to the ugliness of the world it to try to stay away from it, and do random kindness as I can, I’ve not attempted to verify the friend’s opinion.

  31. Katien

    On February 8, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Good article. I think the worst part of all this is that the people who sell their organs are desperate, probably with starving families, and the people who can afford to buy them have enough money to live what’s left of their lives in a comfortable way.

  32. Ruby Hawk

    On February 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks again everyone, It makes me wonder if we should put organ donor on our license. Maybe we should just make it known to our families that we do want to donate our organs. Daisy’s friend might be right.

  33. Dave

    On September 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    My name is Dave and i am located in the Dominican republic, i provide organ to people who in need, feel free to contact me at or you can call me at 829-849-3023 , contact me and i will reach you as soon as possible

  34. jordan

    On December 13, 2011 at 4:44 am

    ok say if i was intrested in selling some of my insides.. for example some thing i have two of but only need one haha, how would i find info on doing so? or something the same. thanks.

  35. mukiibi ibrahim

    On May 21, 2012 at 3:52 am

    i want to sell a kidney pliz contact me

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