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Author Topic: Moldova leads in illegal organ trafficking  (Read 7494 times)
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« on: April 30, 2008, 11:03:07 PM »

Moldova leads in illegal organ trafficking

New facts reveal that Moldova now holds the leading spot among European countries for illegal organ trafficking. Worldwide, Moldova is one of the top 3 source countries in the gruesome trade. Moldova's illegal organ harvesting rings operate with impunity and de-facto government protection.

By Karen Ryan, 29/Apr/2008

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - The buying and selling of organs is a huge business for Europe's poorest country, Moldova. According to organ trafficking specialists, Moldova is one of the key suppliers to the world organ trade and Moldovan kidneys are the cheapest priced in Europe. The country is one of the top 3 suppliers in the thriving global black market in organ sales, according to a just-released report on organ trafficking.

According to the report, a record rise in human organ-farming has made Moldova one of the leading source countries although with just over 3 million inhabitants it is much smaller in size than the world's two other organ trafficking centers, Brazil (184 million people) and India (1.12 billion people). The prominent position of Moldova in the illegal organ trade is because "this place is a black hole, no one cares about the population and government officials can just do what they want," in the words of a lawyer who recently left Moldova and today lives near Copenhagen, Denmark.

Along with Brazil and India, Reuters has named Moldova is one of the top 3 source countries in the world for organs.

Worldwide, the buying and selling of organs is a huge business, and the export of human raw material is bringing hard currency to Moldova. Officially listed as Europe's poorest country, Moldova is now the West's center for the illegal organ trade. The country shares a common border with the European Union, but is officially outside EU jurisdiction and not subject to international scrutiny.

Government involvement and protection

Under foreign pressure, Moldova recently banned the organ trade but that hasnít kept an entrenched class of brokers from continuing their operations on the black market. Government officials are deeply involved in the organ trade, and visitors to the outlying villages south of Chisinau can still see women with large, curving scars. Even now that the trade is supposed to banned, the law in Moldova is so muddled and laced with loopholes that the vested interests are still doing business just like before.

Every 6 minutes, a human organ is being removed from a Moldovan and sold, and Moldovan government officials reap enormous profits from the harvested organs.

Some Moldovan citizens die in the process of having their organs harvested: Any transplant procedure involving a living donor carries risks for the donor - especially for liver transplants which involve removing part of the donorís liver. Complications can include bleeding, infection, even death.

This risk is of no concern to the traffickers, says an official with the World Health Organization.

" - Once you pay, it is discarded in a way, it is dispensable," says Luc Noel, a Geneva-based coordinator for Clinical Procedures at the World Health Organization.

The price to pay, however, is the cheapest in Europe. The most recent estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that one kidney costs $2,700 in Moldova. This figure has been confirmed in a recent study conducted by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a medical anthropology professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of Organs Watch, a center that documents the global traffic in organs.

Gangs abducting organ victims

The sellers of organs are living donors who are poor and vulnerable individuals in need of money, and often desperate to sell their body parts. Abductions for organ harvesting are less common, although thousands of Moldovans disappear each year and some are later found dead with their organs removed. Organ trafficking gangs in Moldova are known to kill their victims to remove kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel for transplanting.

In luckier cases, the victims live. One gang, led by a provincial police chief, is known for abducting people, drugging them and stealing their kidneys for transplant operations. After the operation, the drugged victims are dumped by the roadside. When they wake up, one of their kidneys is missing.

Kidney transplants are by far the most frequently carried out, the WHO says. Of the 65,700 kidney transplants which are estimated annually, it is believed that more than 10 percent come from Moldova. Moldova's government denies this figure, and the authorities said they had found no evidence of a trade in human organs.

But organ trafficking continues, and thousands of poor villagers in Moldova have the scars to prove it. The international organ rings are not underground in Moldova, and few NGOs in Chisinau believe that the government is doing anything to protect Moldovans from illegal organ harvesting syndicates.

" - In fact, many high ranking people from the government's own party are deeply involved in the flesh business," says a local journalist. He claims to have spoken to victims and have photos of dead children with missing organs. Journalists at Kommersant Plus, a Moldovan newspaper, received death threats after one of them started research on an article aimed at exposing government involvement in an organ trafficking network.

Prisoners killed and harvested for organ sales

Moldova is not the only state where officials engage in organ killings. The Hague Prosecution learned while investigating war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs that 300 people who disappeared in 1999 in Kosovo were subjected to surgery in which their kidneys and other organs were taken from them and then the smugglers were selling them to foreign clinics, according to evidence released by Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, in her just-published book ĎThe Huntí.

High KLA members were involved in the operation of smuggling of organs, Del Ponte writes, noting that Kosovo Albanians abducted 300 Serbs who were medically examined and then harvested for their organs in an operating room where surgeons were taking organs from these victims. The organs were then transported to clinics abroad for clients that paid for them. The victims left with one kidney were kept locked and later on killed for their other organs. ĎOther prisoners in the barrack knew what was to happen to themí, Del Ponte wrote. Hashim Thaci, a KLA fighter who is now the Prime Minister of the self-declared state of Kosovo, was in charge of the business. According to witnesses, he earned an estimated $2 million USD from the trade of organs extracted from kidnapped Serbs.

There is no evidence that the harvesting of organs from Serbs continue in today's Kosovo, and experts in the organ trade say that the lucrative business has now largely shifted east to Moldova. As one of the three leading countries in the world for organs, Moldova is today Europe's number one supplier and a much more important source-country than Kosovo.

Moldovan-harvested organs leave the country via two routes, by land and through the Chisinau airport. In most cases, the organs are being smuggled into neighboring Romania for subsequent delivery to underground clinics located in a variety of European Union member states.

Moldova and Romania speak the same language, and used to be a single country. The republic of Pridnestrovie - known also as Transnistria - is located east of the Dniester river, and was never part of neither Romania or Moldova at any time in the two countries' histories as independent states. In the past 18 year's of the 'de facto' independent country's existence there have been no substantiated reports of any organ trafficking originating from Pridnestrovie.

-- http://www.tiraspoltimes.com/node/1763

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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2008, 04:26:30 AM »

Moldovia must be a horrible place  :thumbdown;. The reports of the Kosovo lliberation group, kidnapping Serbs to liberate a kidney is as bad as China executing  prisoners for their organs. There was a news reort from the Philippines saying a Ban on Transplants for foreigners starts in three weeks, and their president approves of this.
  So maybe we can boycott Moldovian products.
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