A bit ago I got a comment from Jim (Thanks Jim!) asking if I knew anything about trafficking in body parts in Thailand. The truth is that I don’t– however, I do think that it is important to talk about trafficking in body parts as so little of the public knows that it exists as a problem.
At best I can say that persistent rumors of trafficking in body parts exist. (also the pro-life movement tries to claim that abortion and stem cells consist of trafficking in body parts which I do not agree with– also, I think its dangerous to try and use human trafficking to get into a political debate about pro-life vs. pro-choice).
Trafficking in body parts is basically harvesting body parts from unwilling victims– most often live donor organs, like liver. However, there are cases, of which Mr. Jim believes his son was a part of, where individuals are murdered to harvest their organs. These organs are then sold on the black market, generally in western countries like the US where donor lists are extremely long.
This is an extremely dangerous practice, not just for the donor but also for the recipient. Often the means used to extract the organs is not cleanly and therefor there is higher risk of infection (for both) and rejection (for the recipient). Also, although organs on the black market are sold for thousands of dollars, this money is not passed on to the unwilling (or in some cases willing but extremely poor with no other options) donor.
More reading on organ trafficking here.