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World Health Organisation: Illegal Kidneys Are ‘Sold Every Hour' As Human Organ Trade Booms

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that more than one human organ is illegally purchased every hour worldwide.

Trade has risen to worrying heights warns WHO, despite a small decline in illegal organ donation in 2006-2007, and the organisation estimate that more than 10,000 black market operations (using illegally purchased organs) take place every year, reports the Guardian.

Kidneys are currently the most in-demand organ (accounting for 75% of overall trade), with demand believed to be fuelled by the rise in diet-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Figures released by WHO show that of the 106,879 organs transplanted (legally and illegally) in 2010, around 73,179 were kidneys.

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High levels of poverty across the world mean there is never a shortage of volunteers, with some illegal traders luring donors with the promise of up to £5,000 in exchange of a kidney via a speedy operation – all in just 10 days.

It’s estimated that black market traders pay cash-strapped donors around £3,200 for their kidney – and sell them on for approximately £128,000 to wealthy patients in need.

Responding to the worrying statistics, Luc Noel from WHO, told The Guardian: “There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made.

"It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there."

Noel also believes the lack of law enforcement in certain countries is making it easy for traders to exploit poor people.

"While commercial transplantation is now forbidden by law in China, that's difficult to enforce; there's been a resurgence there in the last two or three years.

"Foreigners from the Middle East, Asia and sometimes Europe come and are paying $100,000 (£63,000) to $200,000 (£127,000) for a transplant. Often they are Chinese expats or patients of Chinese descent."