By Zoe Siegel

A recent study conducted by Erasums MC in Rotterdam revealed that organ trafficking has made its way to the Netherlands.

Researchers surveyed 241 care providers who treat kidney patients. Nearly half of the respondents have treated at least one patient who has undergone a kidney transplant abroad, and many suspect that these kidneys were purchased illegally; 31 care providers testified that they knew this for a fact. Their confidence on this matter is not unwarranted: patients were often forthcoming about their new organs. Head researcher Frederike Ambagtsheer noted that most of these patients were of foreign origin and underwent the transplant surgery in their home countries.

Conversations with transplant recipients revealed that the price of a kidney ranged from around $8,000 to $100,000, and the organs were often purchased from only a handful of countries: Pakistan, India, Colombia, and China. According to Ambagtsheer, where a potential donor chooses to purchase organs from often depends on personal need. Pakistan’s organs are the cheapest, while China offers the shortest wait time.

The black market organ trade is illegal worldwide (with the exception of Iran) due to the often violent means with which organs are taken from impoverished and/or unwilling donors. This study conducted by Eramsus MC indicates that policy makers in the Netherlands are interested in honing in on the doctors, recruiters and other intermediaries responsible for the success of the trade.

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