Monday, October 31, 2011

Ukraine becomes Europe’s capital of organ trafficking

With Ukraine’s medical infrastructure and legislation making vital transplant organs hard to come by, the illegal trade in human organs is thriving as desperate people turn to the black market.

­The authorities are struggling to bring the problem under control, but their room for maneuver is restricted by Ukrainian legislation on transplants.

In Russia and many other countries, doctors are free to use the organs of deceased people to save lives unless there is a written statement from a person prohibiting it. In Ukraine, however, the use of a dead person’s organs is allowed only with the permission of the relatives. This has led to the creation of a huge black donor-market.

Elena's father Boris died in March last year. A few months later, she received a surprising call from the local police.

“The police told me that my father’s eyes were removed from his body to be sold as if they were from a donor. We didn’t notice anything at the funeral, as those who did it disguised their actions. I was told that the morgue’s employees did that, not the doctors. And that a total of 190 dead had had their organs removed,” Elena reveals. more