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Trafficking in Persons for the purpose of organ removal

Trafficking in Persons for the purpose of organ removal

Apr 19, 2017 - 13:54

Herat City (Pajhwok): An Afghan woman from Herat Province was forced to sell her kidney in order to rescue her husband from captivity in Iran.

While Afghans are already suffering from various political, economic and security challenges, organ trafficking has emerged as the country’s latest form within a broader human trafficking problem.

Hameeda, 35, is among those persons who sold her body organ in order to bail out her family from trouble.

She said her husband went to Iran in search of employment where he fell in trouble after some time. According to Hameeda she received a call from Iran and was instructed to provide 50 million Rials (100 thousand AFS) in order to rescue her husband.

“How could I have paid  100 thousand AFS while I had no money to even provide food for my children,” she said. “They called me incessantly and asked for money. I told them that how could she arrange such an amount of money.” Hameeda said the callers from Iran asked her to sell her kidneys and send the money to them.

The mother of four children, Hameeda, living in a rented house in Herat City, said she had no option but to sell her left kidney. She sent part of the money to those persons in Iran and rest of the money was used in repaying the loans that she had taken from people.

She said she sold her kidney for 200,000 AFS to a patient in Herat's Luqman Hakim Hospital.

Hameeda is not the only person who had to sell her body organ, there are other Afghans who have also been faced with similar situation.

Another resident of Herat province, Syed Asghar also sold his one kidney due to poverty and economic issues.

During an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News he said: “My family members were almost dying due of hunger and to save their lives, I had no other way but to sell my body part and feed my children.”

Syed Ali who bought Asghar’s kidney said: “My cousin in Iran suffered from kidney problem and we were trying to find a kidney donor.” He added that he bought Asghar’s kidney for 170,000 AFS and sent the kidney to his for it to be transplanted to his cousin in Iran.

Also Mohammad Amin, 23 years, from Bamyan province is hospitalized at Luqman Hakim Hospial for kidney transplant. He said: “We bought a kidney against 480,000 Afghani that would be transplanted soon.”

His brother said Amin was a policeman in Kabulinfo-icon and was diagnosed of kidney problem.

Another Afghan, Mohammad Salak, 25, who is hospitalized at Luqman Hakim hospital, said he went to Pakistaninfo-icon for kidney transplant but somehow was not able to get treatment there. Now, he is admitted in this hospital where his wife will donate her kidney.

It is not only the economic problems that forces people to sell their body organs, however there is an emerging trend of organ trading that is being evidenced in Afghanistaninfo-icon. This  emerging phenomena of organ trafficking is also acknowledged by concerned organizations in the country.

Human body organs sold in black market: AIHRC

According to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), local agents connected with broader trafficking nexus  kidnap children from across the country and send them to Kabul for exploitation.

AIHRC Commissioner, Sorayya Sobhrang said that some of these abducted children end up in the hands of organ traffickers who then mutilate their body organs and sell them in the black market.

She said: "The internal organs of these abducted children are sold by the traffickers for kidney transplantation in the country. These criminal gangs also traffick livers of these children. This is a matter of grave concern to us all."


More than 100 kidney transplants so far: Luqman Hakim Hospital

Luqman Hakim Hospital is located in the capital of eastern Herat Province and it is the only hospital in Afghanistan that has facilities for kidney transplant operations.

Dr. Farid Ejaz, director of the hospital, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said that they transplanted a kidney for the first time in May, 2016.

He said 12 healthinfo-icon professionals of the hospital had received a six-month kidney transplant training in Iran’s Kidney Hospital in Mashhad.

“In the past one year, we have so far conducted kidney transplantation on 55 womeninfo-icon and 45 men in the past one year, only one person lost his life during the operation,” adding that the first kidney operation was performed on a 11 years old girl.

In most cases, the kidneys are given by the family members of the patient, therefore only a limited number of people sold their kidneys, he said.

Ejaz said the kidney donation should be traditionalized in the country which would help rescue lives of those who are suffering from the disease.

“Those who have not attained legal age are not allowed to donate their kidneys, only people above 22 years can donate their kidneys to patients following regulations of the Ministry of Justice,” he said.

He said each kidney transplant treatment costs $5,000 to $10,000 in this hospital.

According to Article 12 of Afghanistan's Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, provision of long term imprisonment is stipulated for the perpetrator who removes a person's body organs or performs medical experiments. Additionally, if the act results in the death of victim, the perpetrator shall face death penalty.


TiP High Commission: Human body organ smugglers exist in Afghanistan

Abdul Wahid Hedayat, a member of the TiP High Commission, told Pajhwok that presence of human trafficking groups and networks could not be denied in a country where such actions are exercised in.

He said 10 to 12 human trafficking networks have been identified and detained by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon) each year.

“When we talk about human trafficking, there are wide dimensions to it. Afghanistan's law describes this issue as an action where one a person uses another person for benefit,” he said.

Unfortunately criminal gangs and networks exist in Afghanistan which are involved in human trafficking, Hedayat said.

He added the Ministry of Justice has special public awareness programs for eradication of human trafficking in the country.

The program is implemented through religious leaders who conduct awareness programmes for people, particularly children about the ominous consequences and modus operandi of human traffickers, he said.

He said human trafficking is a crime and those involved in such activities have been sentenced with different types of punishments.


Major kidney transplant hospital to be build in Nangarhar: MoPH

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) spokesman, Wahid Majroh, confirmed thousands of people in the country were suffering from kidney diseases.

He said there was not a dedicated hospital for the treatment of kidney disease in the country, hence the MoPH had decided to establish a national center for the treatment of this disease.

Building construction, equipments supply and training of the staff members of the hospital have been completed and the center would be inaugurated in the next one month, he said.

Majroh said the ministry has also been working on a bill on body parts transplantation among family members. “We have drafted a temporary procedure for body parts transplant,” he said.

He said a private hospital in Herat province also started kidney transplantation in the country, a process he called as successful initiative.

UN protocol against Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal is encompassed within the definition of trafficking set out in the Palermo Protocol to the 2000 UN Convention which states that “Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”



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