Illicit Trade Thrives Amid Pandemic

With economies in freefall, people desperate for income are increasingly turning to social media to sell organs on the so-called “red market.”
Even before the pandemic, less than 10% of the global demand for donated organs was being met annually—COVID-19 disruptions to routine procedures have sent demand soaring.
The sprawling international industry takes advantage of vulnerable people in the global South, mostly selling kidneys, but also livers, corneas, and skin transplants.
“That group of people who were already uneducated, uninsured, unemployed are now even more desperate to take up offers which they shouldn’t take,” says Aimée Comrie of the UN anti-trafficking initiative GLO.ACT.

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