Lifestyle September 29, 2011 at 12:00 am

Rising Number of Organ Trafficking Amongst Africans Abroad A Major Concern

Adanna Uwazurike September 29, 2011 at 12:00 am

September 29, 2011 at 12:00 am | Lifestyle

Can you imagine being so desperate and deep in poverty that you are willing to risk your own life in simply to acquire enough money to sustain your existence? As the economy deepens in the United States, it is also getting worse around the world. Recently, the issue of “organ trafficking” has come to light, though various international intelligence agencies have been aware of this since the 1990s. Targeting those desperate and at their wits’ end, people are offered large lump sum’s of money in exchange for an organ that can be given to a sick person.

Though willing parties on both sides participate in this “transaction”, the actual operation that takes place in order to attain the organs is not necessarily performed by trustworthy surgeons or sanitary conditions. Unfortunately, more and more people, especially Nigerians, are doing this to deal with debts or pressures to provide for large families. Asian countries are the usual destination for this surgery such as India or Malaysia. According to a source familiar in the trade, Nigerians are said to be lining up in droves in order to get tested, hoping their organs will be deemed good enough to be donated and receive a large amount of money.

Take the story of Samson Eghosa, 31, who grew up in Benin, Edo State, in Nigeria. After four years of 'hustling' on the back alleys of Rome, Eghosa was told about organ trafficking by a South African acquaintance of a man who is a middle-man for kidney donor seekers. A meeting was immediately set up by Eghosa's South African acquaintance with the middle-man in a restaurant, where in an atmosphere he describes as routine, a direct offer was made to him. "The man just flat-out made an offer to me," said Eghosa. "He offered the equivalent of about $10,000, so I agreed."

The man Eghosa describes as having a professional demeanor now proceeded to lay out the risk involved in the operation. But there was no real need for him to do so because Eghosa's desperation and need for the cash involved has made him quite willing to face death if need be. "I didn't care," he says. "I had a lot of things to take care of in Nigeria and the money would come in really handy. So I agreed. A date was set and we met again with the middle-man and the South African (who collected some commission from the middle man)." Weeks after the surgery, however, Eghosa says he still experiences pain from the stitches and gets very sick once in a while, though he is led to believe these occurrences may not be completely due to a faulty surgery.

The sale of human parts is extremely scary to fathom. As people become more desperate or greedy who knows how far they will go to get the organs they need. Perhaps, if not already, there will not be two willing parties on both sides as with the case of Eghosa. Proving how lucrative this business can be, dead bodies disposed of on the streets of Nigeria are said to have been missing eyes or other vital organs most likely to be sold.

 Some would say an easy solution is to create agencies to monitor and end the sale of organs for money. However, as Dr. Amaechi Nwaokolo a former intelligence officer points out, it would be to no avail. The underlying problem—poverty and lack of employment, to name just a few—is what should be focused on. As long as these problems grow and become even more widespread, desperation and the need to do absolutely anything in order to garner money in any way possible will grow along with it.

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