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BODY SNATCHERS: The illegal organ harvest trade...Its BIGGER than you think.

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posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 05:28 AM

As many have by now learned, Dick Cheney finally received his long awaited heart transplant at the age of 71.

But this thread is not really about him. Rather, it was his need for an organ transplant that spawned me to explore where some of these organs come from and what I found is nothing less than shocking!

While I think many of us have heard the urban legends about people being abducted for their organs, it is clear to me what is going on is far from an urban legend...but a global problem of stunning proportions.

But first, let's start here, in this country, the United States:

The Organ Black Market

Though the organ and tissue donation market are highly regulated in the United States, underhanded dealings between shadowy operators are not unheard of. It's illegal in the U.S., and most other nations, to offer or receive compensation for an organ donation. But a black market for human organs does exist.

Citizens of impoverished nations or regions are often tempted to sell one of their kidneys on the black market. In some cases, these entrepreneurial donors are recruited (or learn through word-of-mouth and volunteer) and flown to another nation, where the organ is removed in a makeshift operating room...


In the U.S., a black market for human tissue exists. It usually involves bodies about to be cremated. A black market broker may enter into a financial arrangement with a criminally minded funeral home director and carve up the bodies before they're cremated. Falsified papers -- such as consent forms and death certificates -- are produced, and the tissue can then be sold to an American research facility. Sometimes, the tissue may be from a body with an infectious disease, but is sold with documents that claim a different cause of death or medical history. Illegally obtained tissue from just one cadaver has been known to reach 90 tissue recipients...

In fact, last year the FBI successfully prosecuted it's FIRST case of illegal organ trafficking in the US.

Kidney Broker Pleads Guilty in First U.S. Organ-Traffic Case

A New York man admitted to brokering black-market sales of human kidneys to three Americans, becoming the first person convicted in the U.S. of organ trafficking.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 60, pleaded guilty today to three counts of organ trafficking and one count of conspiracy in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey. He said three ailing people in New Jersey paid him a total $410,000 to arrange the sale of kidneys from healthy donors and an undercover FBI agent paid him $10,000. A 1984 U.S. law bans the sale of human organs.


In court today, Rosenbaum admitted that from 2006 to 2009 he recruited Israeli donors, arranged for their travel to the U.S. and their lodging, and set up blood tests to match them with recipients.

He told an undercover FBI agent that he had arranged “quite a lot” of transplants, according to the complaint.

“I’ve never had a failure,” he told the agent in a 2008 conversation quoted in the complaint.

But as you explore the issue further, Mr. Rosenbaum has to be just the tip of the iceberg.

How Poverty, False Promises, Fuel Illegal Organ Trafficking

What would persuade you to sell a kidney to a stranger? For the 33 Bangladeshi kidney sellers interviewed by anthropologist Monir Moniruzzaman, the answer was simple: poverty. An illegal organ trade in Bangladesh connects wealthy transplant seekers with poor people enticed, often with false promises, to sell parts of their bodies.

Moniruzzaman uses the phrase "bioviolence" to describe the exploitation he found during his research. He linked it to the history of medical exploitation of the disenfranchised, from the Tuskegee syphilis studies, in which treatment was withheld from black study subjects, to the surrogacy market in which foreigners hire wombs in India to carry their babies.

How much does a Bangladeshi kidney sell for?

The average quoted price is $1,500. The market, it started more than 10 years before, and the kidneys' price was higher and it has gradually dropped. After donation, post transplantation, the poor Bangladeshis receive different amounts. In one case, a poor Bangladeshi, a 23-, 24-year-old boy, received only $600, and he was promised $1,600 to $1,700. In my study, 81 percent of the sellers didn't receive money they were promised.


They are tempted by the promise that appeared in the newspaper ad...

I collected close to 1,300 newspaper ads. Many promise a reward or compensation, including travel to countries like the U.S. or Italy.

A few months ago, the European division of CNN produced this report concerning and even sinister problem in the Sinai. And as you will see, these 'organ donors' aren't simply duped into selling their organs. They are taken by force.

This is all pretty remarkable when you realize that at this scale, the amount of medical skill, equipment, and logistics REQUIRED to deliver medically useful body parts to the black market.

As the report indicates, corneas, livers and kidneys are the more sought after items. And just to be clear, these organs were harvested when the victims were still alive!

In terms of market size, the illegal organ harvesting trade is second only behind the illegal arms trade, and trumps the sex and drug trafficking markets!

Egypt is a major hub for this market.

As one trafficker in the videos says, "It's like getting spare parts for a car..."

And despite this illegal nature and scale of this issue in Egypt, authorities there have NEVER made a single arrest concerning the practice.

In Israel, the problem seems soundly present, although it's difficult to know the true numbers involved.

Claims of antisemitism surfaced in the Ukraine, in 2009, when one academic claimed: "Israel has brought around some 25,000 Ukrainian children into the country over the past two years in order to harvest their organs."

But then in July of last year, eight traffickers in Israel were prosecuted after a woman who 'donated' her kidney complained of failing to be paid.

And the problem isn't just in the Middle East, or places like India. There are current stories in Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa, Nicaragua and Peru...

BLOOMBERG Markets reported in June that US citizens and others from the Americas suffering from kidney failure were going buy organs in a shadowy trade that injured and killed donors and recipients.

Take this guy, for example, and the stories that follow:

It's hard to believe that with all of this activity, few still realize it's taking place on such a wide scale.

Just this year, such claims are only now being heard concerning illegal organ harvesting in kosovo, now and during the 1990s war, involving captured soldiers.

Of course even the UN seems is denial... (I'll get to that in a second.)

On Wikipedia, the CURRENT article on organ harvesting says:

Organ harvesting (is) a general fiction...


As evidence, they site Marzouk, Lawrence (7 May 2010). "EULEX Uncovers No Evidence KLA Trafficked Organs".

Matti Raatikainen, chief war crimes investigator for the EU mission, tells Balkan Insight that investigations into alleged KLA organ trafficking have uncovered nothing so far. Accusations that the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, was involved in organ trafficking from the so-called “Yellow House” in Albania are not supported by evidence, Matti Raatikainen, chief of war crimes investigations at EULEX, said.

But as the following demonstrates, the UN new much more than they were willing to publicly reveal concerning the Kosovo situation.

UN knew about Kosovo organ trafficking, report says

A classified document obtained by FRANCE 24 suggests the United Nations knew about organ trafficking in postwar Kosovo as early as 2003, five years before prosecutors in The Hague first raised the issue.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was expected to deliver a report on the situation in Kosovo to the Security Council in New York on Wednesday, reaffirming UN support for investigations into human organ trafficking during Kosovo’s postwar period.

But a classified document obtained by FRANCE 24 indicates the UN knew of trafficking well before the issue was first raised by Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in her memoirs published in 2008.

See the report here.

The report, dating from 2003, is an incomplete compilation of investigations carried out by UNMIK, the UN mission in Kosovo. It describes organ trafficking that took place from 1999 to 2000, immediately after Kosovo's NATO-backed independence war.

The document, also obtained by the Italian news agency TMnews, details how senior commanders of the guerilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) obtained and trafficked organs out of Kosovo and Albania.

The alleged victims were mostly Serbian men, but also included young women from other Eastern European countries. They were taken to clandestine detention centres and private homes in Albania where their vital organs were extracted, leading to their death, the report says.


The 2003 document has never been presented to the European Union’s police and justice mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which is in charge of investigating crimes committed during the war.


Havoscope Blackmarkets, which estimates the market size of many black market activites, says the market is around $38.09 Billion.

Kidney and other organ prices on the global criminal markets are based upon publicly available reports and is quoted in U.S. Dollars. The price represents the amount either paid to the seller of the organ or the price paid by the buyer for the organ.

Average paid by Kidney Buyer: $150,000
Average paid to Seller of Kidney: $5,000
Kidney broker in Yemen: $60,000
Kidney broker in the Philippines: $1,000 to $1,500
Kidney buyer in Israel: $125,000 to $135,000
Kidney buyer in Moldova: $100,000 to $250,000
Kidney buyer in Singapore: $300,000
Kidney buyer in United States: $120,000
Kidney buyers in China: $87,000
Kidney buyers in Saudi Arabia: $16,000
Kidney seller in Bangladesh: $2,500
Kidney seller in China: $15,000
Kidney seller in Egypt: $2,000
Kidney seller in Israel: $10,000
Kidney seller in Kenya: $650
Kidney seller in Moldova: $2,500 to $3,000
Kidney seller in Peru: $5,000
Kidney seller in Ukraine: $200,000
Kidney seller in Vietnam: $2,410
Kidney seller in Yemen: $5,000
Kidney seller in the Philippines: $2,000 to $10,000
Liver buyer in China: $21,900
Liver seller in China: $3,660

Just this month, an article appeared concerning China's state program of organ harvesting, from a would-be defector and perpetrator of the program:

Medical Community Disturbed by China’s Organ Centers

A recent report by a human rights watchdog group linking would-be defector and former police chief Wang Lijun with research into organ harvesting has brought outspoken condemnation of Wang’s mixture of police work and medical innovation from members of the medical community within the United States.

The report, released by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), shows that while serving as police chief in Jinzhou City, Wang Lijun founded the On-Site Psychology Research Center (OSPRC) on the subject of human organ transplant inside the building of the Public Security Bureau.

Prior to Wang’s research, victims of forced organ harvesting were typically executed with a shot to the head, and then their organs would be harvested. A team working under Wang’s supervision developed an injection method that is claimed to yield organs in better condition for transplantation. Wang, upon receiving an award for this, bragged in a speech that he had overseen thousands of organ harvesting operations.

David Matas, the international human rights lawyer and investigator into forced organ harvesting in China (author, with former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour of the 2009 book “Bloody Harvest”) had previously told The Epoch Times that with the injection method, “In effect they’re not killing by injection, but paralyzing by injection, and taking the organs out while the body is still alive.”

Arthur Caplan, professor of Bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, reacted to the report, calling it “terrifying.”

Indeed, it is.

But what could be worse than the widespread implication that even children are harvested for their organs?

Lost and Found in India

Two dead children were found at the back of the local school, their kidneys and eyes removed. An otherwise quiet village, where the most unusual, interesting, or exciting thing that happens is at a local temple on a festival day, or when a cow or bullock or goat runs loose down the main street, or when the boats crossing the river go on strike.


See also:

Traffickers targeting Haiti's children, human organs, PM says


The Azerbaijani government says it is keen to crack down on child traffickers who are believed to take children abroad and sell their organs for profit.


Child Abduction Syndicates in Indonesia Thrive On Weak Policing...The really unlucky ones end up in organ farms...


South African hospital pleads guilty to organ trafficking case...The hospital group admitted receiving 3.8 million rand (£342,000) from an illegal organ trafficking syndicate that included the removal of kidneys from five children.


While doing the research on this general topic, I repeatedly saw statistics that said the total global numbers of illegally harvested organs to around 5,000 per year. Many sources, like Wikipedia, seem to deny the existence of the issue altogether.

Clearly, all of that is wrong.

I knew hell existed in many parts of the globe, but I had no idea it could be found in this manner.

I hope you learned something from this thread.

I sure did.

edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

edit on Sun Mar 25 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: title edit per OP request

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 05:28 AM
If there ever was a conspiracy of such great significance...hidden so well...this has got to be one of the largest of them.

What surprises me the most is how few prosecutions there seem to be-- even where the problem seems evident and profound.

The evil men can do seems unbounded at times.

What a terrible, terrible thing.
edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 06:35 AM
Seems like ATS don't give a crap about the whole situation.
I'm surprised this thread hasn't had any replies.
If hell exists, we're all residents.

Imagine being taken by force and then being harvested for your organs.
That's just sick. What a sadistic species we are.
The world is out of control.

ETA: Great thread (unfortunately) by the way

I bumped it.
edit on 25-3-2012 by Dr Cosma because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 06:55 AM
It took me a while to get through all the subject matter. It just makes me wonder at the crazy things we do just to stay alive in this existence. Death is easier.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 07:38 AM
Thanks OP for bringing this to light on ats, as to most of the west this is a widely unknown issue, but to many in the Middle east, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Eurasia this is a harsh reality. It really brings back memories for me from 7 years ago when i was in Turkey and instead of ice cream trucks roaming the streets there were vans with hundreds of photos of missing children all over them, and no matter where in Turkey you were there was always the fear of the organ mafia who would roam the streets at night or even day for children who were easy targets for these scum. It's sad to see that there is not more being done about this by International authorities as it is claiming more lives internationally than terrorism.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 07:53 AM
Ahh what modem medicine has made us into, selfish humans for wanting prolonged life.

If only they never discovered how to successfully transplant organs this problem would be non existing.

But hey its saved allot of good people and allot of bad people.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 08:49 AM
reply to post by amraks

If only they never discovered how to successfully transplant organs this problem would be non existing.

There are always strings attatched....

but if you had a son or daughter in need of an organ, would you be saying the same thing?
I think not.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 09:49 AM
reply to post by loam

All the more reason to support Stem Cell research.

A man who developed cancer in his windpipe has gotten a new trachea, grown entirely from his own stem cells over two days in a laboratory in Sweden. The operation is remarkable because it's the first time a completely synthetically grown organ has been transplanted into a patient, The Guardian reported. "The synthetic trachea was created by growing the patient's own stem cells on an artificial 'scaffold', which British scientists helped design. Windpipes have been grown from stem cells before, but only using the collagen 'skeletons' of donated tracheas ... Professor Paolo Macchiarini, an Italian expert in regenerative medicine who led the groundbreaking operation, designed the Y-shaped synthetic trachea scaffold with Professor Alexander Seifalian, from University College London." The success of the operation means that patients who need organ transplants could conceivably be able to have them specially grown instead of having to wait for a donor.

Medical technology created this problem and it will solve this problem.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:10 AM
reply to post by loam

Awesome post and kudos for all the work.

I have often wondered about this. Granted some organs come from recently dead accident victims and such but no where near the level of need. And that is just in this country alone. That tells any first year economics student there is a demand. Cue unscrupulous providers.

But heck, they are just the poor, right? From another country. It's just business. This whole thing benefits them in the long run. Well, maybe not so long for them but for us, yup, pretty long.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 10:20 AM
reply to post by Dr Cosma

Originally posted by Dr Cosma
Imagine being taken by force and then being harvested for your organs.
That's just sick. What a sadistic species we are.
The world is out of control.

I know.

The horror this represents is beyond imagining.

It sounds like science fiction, but then you realize it isn't. This is the world we live in TODAY...and it seems, most of us are completely asleep.

edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:11 AM
reply to post by Maccaron.Shakaron

Originally posted by Maccaron.Shakaron
...It really brings back memories for me from 7 years ago when i was in Turkey and instead of ice cream trucks roaming the streets there were vans with hundreds of photos of missing children all over them, and no matter where in Turkey you were there was always the fear of the organ mafia who would roam the streets at night or even day for children who were easy targets for these scum...

Yes. A quick search revealed the following:

Turkey to investigate missing children

The Turkish government is establishing a commission to investigate the growing number of missing children amid fears of organ trafficking.

At a parliamentary meeting Tuesday night, members agreed to form a 16-member commission to implement better investigative measures, the Hurriyet Daily News reported from Ankara.

And this:

Turkish Doctor Arrested in Organ Trafficking Ring

A surgeon dubbed "Dr. Frankenstein" by the Turkish media has been arrested on suspicion of heading a Kosovo-based organ-smuggling gang that illegally snatched kidneys and sold them to wealthy customers around the world.

Police seized Yusuf Sonmez, 53, on Tuesday evening at his luxury villa in Istanbul, according to Agence France-Presse, on an Interpol arrest warrant filed by a European Union prosecutor in Kosovo. A court freed Sonmez today, pending a trial.

He vehemently denies the charges.


The black market trade was revealed in 2008 when a Turkish man, Yilmaz Altun, fainted at Pristina's airport and told U.N. police he had just had his kidney removed. Officers raided Medicus and found an Israeli transplant tourist who had just received the Turk's kidney.

See also:

Turkish authorities arrest two suspected organ traffickers

Two of 12 suspected members of an organ trafficking ring taken into custody during a recent 12-province operation have been arrested, Doğan news agency, or DHA, reported Friday.

Among the 12 people questioned over two days on allegations of “forming a gang” and “trading organs,” Osman Kökyıldırım and Savaş Günay were arrested while the rest were released on their own recognizance to await trial.
During the operation, code-named “Hunting Season,” 33 people were taken into custody, including the 12. The simultaneous operation took place at 46 different addresses in Adana, Istanbul, Batman, Ankara, Şırnak, Kocaeli, Bursa, Mersin, Hatay and Bingöl provinces.

But only two arrests?

The article continues:

21 people allegedly involved in selling organs in transplants and falsifying documents at private hospitals in Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya were released on the order of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The investigators found that the trafficking ring targeted physically healthy people in dire financial straits and persuaded them to sell their livers.

Originally posted by Maccaron.Shakaron
It's sad to see that there is not more being done about this by International authorities as it is claiming more lives internationally than terrorism.

Interesting point.

I guess part of the problem is that so few of us realize the existence, let alone the size, of this nightmare.
edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:24 AM
Here's another article from just a few days ago:

Israel’s Campaign To Halt Organ Trafficking Tourism

Of course, Israel is hardly the only country whose citizens go abroad to seek organ transplants—it’s a problem for many wealthy nations, including Britain, Australia, the U.S., Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Patients generally head to a poorer part of the world—China, Eastern Europe, Colombia, the Philippines, to name a few—in order to circumvent long donor lists at home. Yet while there are no available statistics that give concrete numbers on the black market of international transplant tourism, medical watchdogs say that Israelis have popped up in organ trafficking cases over the past decade with surprising frequency, particularly given the country’s small size and its level of development—although experts also note that the country has made big gains in eradicating the practice in recent years.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by Dr Cosma

Originally posted by Dr Cosma
Seems like ATS don't give a crap about the whole situation.
I'm surprised this thread hasn't had any replies.

I guess that is the problem with big threads, and in some respects explains why the interest 'out there' is so anemic, when the interest even in here appears to be so marginal.

For those with short attention spans (and perhaps even this solution may be too much for them), just watch this single video:

If that doesn't motivate you to wade through the rest of the material, I don't know what will.

I also think my thread title is wrong. People reading it probably think this is a MINOR problem...just one more bad thing some people do. I don't think most people have a clue...


Changed the title a bit... Maybe more will stop by to read it now.

edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 12:19 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 01:12 PM
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing thread! thank you so much for posting! flagged and starred!!!!!!!!

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 01:13 PM
Loam, thanks for the research on this.
Yet another scary thing that is going on in this world....anything for money...I guess

I knew this was happening, as Law & Order, the original series, did a show on illegal organ donors years ago.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 01:24 PM
Disturbing, but once more, should come to no surprise. With the wealth distribution as screwed up as it is on this planet. People are willing to sell just about anything they have to make it day by day. As for the foorced organ removal, just more inhuman treatment of humans. We really have no short supply of these types of actions.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 01:28 PM
reply to post by AaronWilson

Originally posted by AaronWilson
...willing to sell...

That's bad enough, but I had no idea they were TAKING them by force on this scale...

This is human cannibalism in a completely different sense...but cannibalism nonetheless.
edit on 25-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by DontTreadOnMe

Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
I knew this was happening, as Law & Order, the original series, did a show on illegal organ donors years ago.

I like to think of myself as a fairly knowledgeable guy, but I have to admit, I was clueless about this topic.

What a depressing world we live in.

posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 02:07 PM
While this may be happening in other countries, and I seriously doubt it is, it is NOT happening in America or Canada.

I'm in stage 4 kidney failure and awaiting a transplant, I'm also a Registered Nurse, so I'm not just some guy commenting on this.

The testing required for organ donation is extensive, and time consuming. Just abducting someone off the street and cutting out his organs does nothing. The organ is only good for about 12-16 hours, and thats if you do everything right. It would need to be removed by a surgeon to be of any use.

And you can't take organs from bodies about to be creamated, they would not be viable. It's why they keep people on life support until they can harvest the organs. Not to mention there are drugs required to keep an organ from being rejected. And you can't just buy those anywhere.

There is a black market for donors, but it's nothing like you describe.

I know this because I was approached on a kidney disease forum. The way it works is that the person agrees to give you a kidney in exchange for money. They go your Dr to get tissue trested and if they are a match they have to sign a form that says they were not paid for the organ. It's very rare though, as UNOS does a background check to verify that you actually knew each other prior to the donation.

My surgeon thinks there are fewer then 10 of these done a year in North America, we talked about it. The penalties if caught are severe, especially for the person who is sick, you are kicked out of UNOS, no transplant for you ever. Not many patients would risk that.

Most of what you linked is sensational jounalism, national inquirer stuff.
edit on 25-3-2012 by AGWskeptic because: (no reason given)

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