Plenty of hearts but no soul: Yemen's organ traffickers rake in big bucks

Published December 13th, 2012 - 10:06 GMT
Organ traffickers take advantage of Yemen's harsh economic conditions
Organ traffickers take advantage of Yemen's harsh economic conditions
Sana’a Security  forces declared that they arrested a group of human organ traffickers on Tuesday.

In recent years, security has arrested several traffickers who are often part of wider networks that are taking advantage of harsh economic conditions in Yemen.

Colonel Mohammed Al-Sobari, the manager of Public relations in Yemen’s Criminal Investigation Department  told the Yemen Times that the absence of a law deterring human organ trafficking in Yemen has led to a spread of the phenomena.

“The government tried in the past to deny the existence of such activity but later confessed that this has become a problem,” he said.

Al-Sobari revealed that there are gangs working in Yemen that exploit women and children to sell their organs.

He confirmed that Yemen’s Criminal Investigation Department is determined to fight this phenomenon. “We’ve formed a national committee to limit the actions of human organ trafficking. We’re also preparing for a Yemen-wide strategy to deter the gangs who exploit Yemenis’ suffering and pain.”

Al-Sobari pointed out that some Yemenis are ready to sell their kidneys due to difficult economic conditions. He also indicated that the hospital which currently works with traffickers in Egypt has removed kidney and other organs from Yemeni victims without their knowledge when they were under anesthetic.

According to Nabil Fadhil, the head of the Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking, said unemployment, ignorance and extreme poverty are the main reasons behind trafficking human organs in Yemen.

Speaking to the Yemen Times, Fadhil said that there is a large network of trafficking human organs working in Egypt and Yemen. “This network has trafficked about 300 Yemenis while the security foiled more than 200 attempts of trafficking human organs in Sana’a airport.”

He revealed that another Jordanian network is working in Yemen to provide organs to a hospital in Egypt, pointing out that brokers and middle men take advantage of this illegal but lucrative trade.

“Those brokers are paid $2,000 in return for providing the hospital with one human organ. The person who sells their organ is paid about $5,000 while the hospital sells one organ for up to $50,000.”

The security in Yemen has played a significant role in fighting the phenomenon and foiling various trafficking attempts, according to Fadhil.

“Unfortunately, those brokers exploit the harsh financial situation Yemenis are currently facing and convince them to sell their organs,” he said. “We should put a limit on this phenomenon that trades in our suffering.”

In 2009, the security sparked the issue when it declared for the first time that it arrested a network of traffickers from Egypt and Jordan.
By Sadeq Al-Wesabi
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