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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 trafficking.
Harvested organs, sex slaves, and horrifying memories: the practice of human trafficking is savage and needs to be stopped.
One of the purposes of human trafficking is to harvest organs.
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 status.
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 organs.
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 exploitation''.
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 Crimes (UNODC).
UNODC helps states around the world to draft laws and develop anti-trafficking strategies.
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 trafficking.
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