Photo: Organ Trafficking in Latin America Growing Problem
At a meeting last month, a group of judicial officials from Central America and the Dominican Republic agreed to a minimum sentence for any individual involved in the increasingly common crime of organ trafficking.
The committee established a sentence of no less than five years for anyone involved in this type of criminal activity. The discussion however did not set limits for individual countries and Honduras recently set their minimum sentence for this crime at 15 years.
The meeting is a step in the right direction towards ending a problem that continues to plague the area. Organs Watch, an NGO which tracks illegal sales has estimated that up to 20,000 kidneys alone are sold worldwide at close to $150,000. Many individuals involved in these transactions are gang members, who traditionally serve as facilitators for the sale. Many sellers are those living in the many impoverished areas in Latin America. One 25 year old man from Jalisco, México, found himself selling one of his kidneys for about $18,000 to help pay off some debts. He stated, “It’s no good to me to keep both kidneys and remain with my debts.”
The problem will be tough to resolve as long as the gap remains between the amount of organ donors and those waiting for an organ. This meeting however, will hopefully be the first step towards a future resolution.