Illegal kidney transplant: Pakistan authorities burst gang
Authorities in Pakistan have apprehended a gang involved in the illegal transplant of kidneys to wealthy foreigners, a practice that is flourishing in the impoverished country amid an economic crisis.
On Monday night, police and health department rangers raided a hidden clinic in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, arresting ten people, including doctors and nurses.
According to Hassan Akhtar, head of the Punjab Human Organ and Transplant Authority’s team, three suspected donors and two recipients, one from Saudi Arabia and one from Afghanistan, were also arrested.
The team’s leader, Akhtar, stated that more raids would be conducted on Tuesday to apprehend the remaining members of the network.
The network included several people who would go to villages and small towns in the central province of Punjab and convince people to sell kidneys to wealthy foreigners, mostly from Arab countries and some from Europe.
Wealthy foreign buyers pay up to 50,000 dollars for a kidney transplant, but the bulk of the money goes to middlemen and the donor hardly gets around 3,000 dollars, according to a nephrologist in Islamabad.
Pakistan enacted a law to control the illegal sale of body organs in 2010 that envisaged up to 10 years in jail and a fine for transplants other than at established hospitals.
However, the law has not been able to control the practice due to corruption, rising poverty and established criminal gangs working beyond the country’s borders, experts said.