The Hidden Global Market for Human Organs

Thursday, July 10, 2014

University of California-Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes has spent her career tracking and fighting the illegal trade in human organs. Scheper-Hughes, co-founder and director of Organs Watch and an adviser to the World Health Organization, has visited African and South American dialysis units, organ banks, police morgues, and hospitals, investigating this black market. Ethan Watters talks about the hidden global market in human flesh and about Scheper-Hughes’s work tracking and fighting it. He’s author of the article "The Organ Detective" in the July/August issue of Pacific Standard magazine.


Ethan Watters

Comments [5]

Amy from Manhattan

The Israeli doctor's taking organs based on "assumed consent" is absolutely unethical, not only because the "donors" or their families haven't consented but also because w/out their medical histories, he can't know if they have an infection or cancer that might be transferred to the recipient.

Jul. 10 2014 12:44 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Thanks for answering my question, but someone's getting these illicitly obtained organs--if they're paying for them, how do they *not* know, & if they aren't paying for them, who is, & what do they know? Either way, isn't it usually an insurance co. actually making the payment, & what measures do they take to make sure they're from legitimate sources?

Jul. 10 2014 12:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Taking people's organs without consent is horrible, & I'm glad someone's combating it, but writing inflammatory screeds isn't a good way to get people to listen to you.

How can potential organ recipients know if the organ they might receive was obtained legitimately & is safe? (That must be an awful position to be in when you need it to save your life!) Does UNOS have adequate measures to make sure?

Jul. 10 2014 12:25 PM
elaine from Queens

has the author heard of Scott Carney, a journalist whose work has included this topic for a few years back?

I highly recommend his work as well. (Very funny John S. ...)

Jul. 10 2014 12:19 PM
John S from Manhattan

Is this how Dick Cheney got the heart for his transplant?

Jul. 10 2014 12:09 PM

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