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Med Health Care Philos. 2016 Jun;19(2):239-46. doi: 10.1007/s11019-015-9671-4.

Child organ trafficking: global reality and inadequate international response.

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School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


In organ transplantation, the demand for human organs has grown far faster than the supply of organs. This has opened the door for illegal organ trade and trafficking including from children. Organized crime groups and individual organ brokers exploit the situation and, as a result, black markets are becoming more numerous and organized organ trafficking is expanding worldwide. While underprivileged and vulnerable men and women in developing countries are a major source of trafficked organs, and may themselves be trafficked for the purpose of illegal organ removal and trade, children are at especial risk of exploitation. With the confirmed cases of children being trafficked for their organs, child organ trafficking, which once called a "modern urban legend", is a sad reality in today's world. By presenting a global picture of child organ trafficking, this paper emphasizes that child organ trafficking is no longer a myth but a reality which has to be addressed. It argues that the international efforts against organ trafficking and trafficking in human beings for organ removal have failed to address child organ trafficking adequately. This chapter suggests that more orchestrated international collaboration as well as development of preventive measure and legally binding documents are needed to fight child organ trafficking and to support its victims.


Child organ trafficking; Organ trafficking; Organ transplantation; Trafficking of human being for organ removal; Transplant tourism

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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