The Body Brokers: Organized Crime and Organ Trafficking

Cindy Moors, Sam Houston State University

This paper outlines a 21st century phenomenon: the global trade in human bodies and body parts. With the advent of organ transplantation more than three decades ago, the human body has quickly become a commodity for replacement parts. There are some who maintain that organized crime and other criminal elements are exploiting this area. Illicit organ transplants take place transnationally and involve surgeons, patients, organ donors, and brokers. The global demand for organs has surpassed organ donation in most cases, thus creating a market economy. Indisputably, poverty, social injustice and high profitability are important factors that explain the context in which illegal organ harvesting arises in several countries.

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Updated 05/20/2006