Thursday, May 26, 2005

Black Market Organ Trade is Baghdad's New Growth Industry

Ali Hameed quit his job as a taxi driver because he no longer felt safe on Baghdad's streets. Increasingly desperate for money to help him get married, he hit on a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity - selling one of his kidneys.

Last week, in a shabby ward in the city's Al Karama hospital, he lay bandaged on a bed, one kidney lighter and $1,400 (about £765) richer after a three-hour operation.

With unemployment in Iraq at about 60 per cent, the chance to earn money by touting body parts is a more calculated risk than, say, becoming a $150-a-month rookie policeman at the mercy of suicide attackers.
Couple of thoughts here. Isn't the standard way to make money off of your body with blood and sperm? And I bet they can use some blood in Baghdad.

Second, I would think that there are lots of "recently deceased" in the greater Baghdad area that would allow for a bountiful supply of second hand body parts. Or maybe Paul Bremer never got around to adding the organ donor box to the Iraqi driver licenses. In hind sight that might of been a good thing to have gotten pushed through.
As news of the black market trade has spread, however, wealthier transplant "tourists" from around the Arab world have started flocking to Baghdad, attracted by the rock-bottom prices.

If car bombs, kidnappings and robberies are a deterrent, the price compares favorably to the $5,000 cost of a kidney on the black market in Turkey, or $3,000 in India. In Iraq, the operation itself typically costs $2,000.
You know as attractive as a price as that is, I still think I am going to spend my surgical tourism dollar in Africa. Call me a snob, but I like my carnage organic, with the lions and the gazelles. This human carnage just seems artificial and doesn't do it for me.

via Telegraph

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