Illegal kidney transplant in Nepal:- Trafficking in human beings is a serious and widespread crime in Nepal, characterized by intra-national and international trade in men, women, and children.
Nepal is a country of origin for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. In all types of trafficking, the purpose of trafficking is sexual and labor exploitation.
In addition, organ transplant trade in India is carried out. to Korea and Hong Kong for the purpose of getting married.
Nepalese migrants are smuggled into industrialized countries, which turns out to be human trafficking. Each type and form of trafficking in persons has age and gender dimensions.
Illegal kidney transplant in Nepal
Kidney trafficking cases in Nepal occur mainly in three areas:
- Cross-border trade outside India
- Cross-border trade with India and
- Internal trade mainly with entertainment companies, brick stoves, Jari embroidery, and streets.
Children are victims of human trafficking both internally and across borders for sexual and labor exploitation and for other purposes. Children are also exploited in domestic work, such as in brick kilns and in the Jari industry.
The trade of Nepalese underage girls to the Gulf States and Khasa, Tibet, has recently increased. The latest trends in Nepal show that human trafficking is becoming increasingly diverse and complex.
Five people were reportedly arrested on October 16 for allegedly participating in the illegal kidney trade. It is a rare case in which everyone involved appears to be wrong and could be in prison for up to five years.
Historically, the discourse on human trafficking in Nepal has highlighted the trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation as the predominant form.
More recently, attention has been paid to labor exploitation, forced labor, trade under the guise of foreign employment, and the trade-in human organ harvesting.
As human organ transplantation has become a common medical procedure worldwide, the demand for human organs has also increased. The wide gap between demand for transplantable organs and supply has led to a burgeoning illegal and unregulated organ market.
According to the worldwide occurrence of human organ trafficking, several cases of kidney trafficking have been reported in Nepal.
Police reports of kidney trafficking and court cases, as well as increasing media coverage of kidney trafficking problems, indicate an increase in organized trafficking in commercial organs.
The peculiarities and complexities of organ trafficking, which are not easy to find in the conventional framework to combat trafficking in human beings, lead to difficulties in recognizing it as a serious form of trafficking in human beings.
Even with an existing legal framework that recognizes certain types of illegal trafficking in human organs, this problem is still underrepresented and under-investigated in Nepal.
Despite the lack of reliable studies and reliable data, there are indications that organ trafficking is booming in Nepal. Central to this phenomenon is the way runners use marginalized people from the poorer parts of society to support their kidneys.
Victims are often cheated on promised payments, misinformed about health and other consequences, and exploited in the organ trafficking process. Organ trafficking violates a series of rights protected by national and international law.
This research aimed to better understand how the commercial organ trade fits within the anti-trafficking framework in order to guide structural and policy reform in Nepal. It also sought to better understand the linkages between exploitation, deception, and trafficking.
Recent cases in Nepal (How this illegal was done?)
The case highlights the height of immorality and corruption prevalent in the system set up to prevent such illegal trade in the first place.
It also shows how doctors, supposed to be in the profession to care for people, can also forget their many oaths, to serve and to protect, for personal gains.
It points to cases where poor Nepalis can be duped into selling their organs for much-needed cash.
This not only puts their health at risk but also ultimately puts them on the wrong side of the law. It is, after all, illegal to sell a kidney as it is to buy one.
Lastly, this case highlights the need for stricter regulation of kidney donations, and a change in the law to allow for a kidney ‘swap’ programmed to mitigate incentives to trade illegally.
In the present case, the five people arrested include three personnel attached to Nida Hospital in Lalitpur. They also include a section officer of the District Administration Office in Lalitpur and the kidney recipient himself.
Alarmingly, every one of the accused and arrested, besides the patient, is a member of Nida’s Kidney Transplantation Approval Committee. All hospitals offering kidney transplant services are required by law to set up such panels to check the authenticity of the donors and recipients.
Nepal’s law states that only close relatives are allowed to donate organs to those that are in need.
The exception to the rule is when the donor and recipient are not related, but the donor is willing to provide the organ free of duress, and without any compensation; the immediate family members of both parties have to sign a release.
It seems that the transplant approval committee first consented to let the patient receive a kidney donated by his nephew.
However, on the day of the surgery, the family brought in an impostor, the victim, with falsified documents identifying him as the nephew.
When suspicions arose and a complaint reached Nida’s management, the transplant committee stood by the forged documents and assured the hospital that the donor was an authentic one.
The surgery went through as planned on August 8, and it took the police some time to find the real donor and build a case against members of the committee and the recipient.
For this case to have occurred in the heart of the Capital, in a private hospital, shows the seriousness of the issue.
This very instant, there may be many poor patients across the country being approached by hospital personnel and being pressured to sell their organs.
The thought is chilling. The need of the hour is stronger regulation of the kidney transplant committees.
There is further need to research and implement kidney exchange markets, such as those designed by economist Alvin Roth and implemented all across the US, which allows for a safe, ethical, and money-free exchange of kidneys.
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