Imagine a small child, laughing and playing with friends and
family at the playground. Not all kids are this lucky. Some
have been forced into the gruesome world of human
Harvested organs, sex slaves, and horrifying memories: the
practice of human trafficking is savage and needs to be
One of the purposes of human trafficking is to harvest
Some of the organs harvested are corneas, unfertilised eggs,
blood, skin, bones and ligaments.
The kidney is the most sought after organ in transplant
tourism and can be sold for $1300 to $150,000. Reports have
estimated that 75% of illegal organ trades involve the
kidneys. Another organ that is popular is the liver, which
can be sold for between $4000 and $157,000.
Even though livers are regenerative and not fatal to remove,
they are not as common to come across because of the
excruciating recovery period.
While vital organs such as heart or lungs are in high demand,
trafficking these organs is very rare due to the nature and
state-of-the-art facilities needed for such transplants.
Reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show
''decreased health and economic wellbeing for those who
donate organs through transplant tourism''.
In a study of Indian donors, 96% sold a kidney to pay off
their debts. However, 75% of all donors still had the debts
after time. In fact, 66% of donors reported a lower financial
Organ brokers regularly do not pay the full amount promised
to the donor. The money for the organ is often quickly spent
on post-surgery care which is not provided by the buyer.
Donors in all countries often report weakness after surgery
that leads to decreased employment opportunities, especially
for those who make a living through physical labour.
Iran is the only nation that has legalised payment for
There is a worldwide shortage of organs available for
transplants, but trade in human organs is illegal in all
countries except Iran.
What is even worse than stealing people's organs is stealing
people's children. According to the WHO, ''trafficking of
children is the recruitment, transportation, transfer,
harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of
Child trafficking often involves parents in extreme poverty.
Parents sell their children to traffickers to pay off debts
or gain income, or they may be deceived concerning the
prospects of training and a better life for their children.
Some people sell their children for labour, sex trafficking
or illegal adoptions.
About 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across
international borders - more than half of these victims
worldwide are children.
This kind of life for children exploits them and destroys any
chance of a decent future.
With all of this happening, what is being done?The challenge
all countries have is to target the criminals who organise
human trafficking schemes by exploiting desperate people.
The Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking was started
in March 2007 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and
UNODC helps states around the world to draft laws and develop
The biggest international milestone to date has been the
adoption of the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish
trafficking in persons, especially women and children. A
document has been signed by 110 countries to stop human
Some countries are doing more than others. In Australia, the
Government has anti-human trafficking agreements with Burma,
Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. In 2002, the Minister for
Foreign Affairs made an official position called the
Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues.
UNODC has also developed a database of human trafficking case
law to provide immediate public access to statistics on
prosecutions, convictions and real life stories.
By creating the database, UNODC is working to increase the
visibility of successful prosecutions and at the same time
promote awareness of the realities of this devastating crime.
Because of the growing problems with this issue, it is
important that organisations are working together to put a
stop to human trafficking. Human trafficking is a serious
problem and more needs to be done to stop it.
• By Jessica Popham, Year 11, Gore High School