Black Market Organ Harvesting: Is It Truly Inevitable?

2109 words - 9 pages

When there is a product, there is a black market for that product. This is true with drugs, seafood, electronics, art, jewelry, music, designer clothing, and more. This is also true for human tissue and bodily fluids. Human tissues are a product in high demand with little supply. People ask if there is a way to stop this. There is not. The black market trade in organs, bones, blood, and plasma is inevitable due to the ambiguity surrounding organ donation and transplant laws, a shortage of organ donors, and the lucrative nature of selling human tissues.
"Law and economics recognize three types of markets with varying degrees of legality: white, gray, and black. The trade in human flesh has evolved into its own category of commercial activity, what you might call the ‘red market’ — a market whose economic characteristics are complicated by the fact that customers owe their lives and family relationships to the supply chain, yet know perilously little about it (Carney)." In some instances, which have been prosecuted, foreigners were lured to other countries and promised money for their kidneys. They never received their compensation (Carvajal). In one instance, some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army executed Serbian prisoners and sent their organs to Istanbul, Turkey to be given to Turkish patients.
Religion has played a large part in preventing the organ transplant legislation, as the people have been arguing that humans "cannot sell or donate what [they] do not own" (McGrath). These people are operating under the assumption that a person’s body does not belong to him or her, but to God (McGrath)."By contrast, Sayed Tantawi, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Islamic authority, has declared that donating one's organs after death is permissible in Islam, because it is an act of charity for the benefit of other human beings. Most lawmakers have accepted Tantawi's ruling, though some have raised concerns about the draft's legal definition of death" (McGrath).
A recently proposed law actually defines what is and is not organ trafficking, thus making it easier to punish those who do violate these laws (McGrath). For example, "donors and recipients who engage in the sale of organs face up to 10 years in jail" (McGrath). In addition to this, hospitals participating in the black market can be closed and forced to pay a fine at a maximum of $200,000. Doctors who perform the illegal surgeries can be fined at a maximum of $100,000. They can also lose their license to practice and face a jail term of up to 15 years (McGrath). However, at the moment, Egypt has no laws specifically regarding organ transplants (McGrath). There are "only rules set by doctor's unions and health ministry guidelines, which have proven difficult to enforce" (McGrath). However, there is an embargo on getting organs from the deceased. All donors must be living (McGrath). Transplants are allowed, but no money should ever change hands in the procurement of organs. However,...

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