First case of people trafficking for organs uncovered in UK
The first case of an individual being trafficked to Britain in order to have their organs harvested has been uncovered.
The unnamed adult female was brought to the UK by an organised gang with the intention of removing her organs and selling them on to those desperate for a transplant.
It is unclear whether the plot was uncovered before the organ removal took place, but campaigners said it was the first such case they had seen in Britain.
It is understood the case is now the subject of a police investigation, but represents a sinister development in the already disturbing trade in human trafficking.
Details of the harrowing case emerged in a report from The Salvation Army, which provides specialist support for the adult victims of trafficking on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
Major Anne Read, the group’s anti-trafficking response coordinator declined to say what part of the world the victim was from, but explained: “They were brought to this country for the purpose of taking organs. This is certainly the first case like this that we have had.”
She said the problem may have been in existence for some time, but had probably been “under the radar”.
According to the World Health Organisation as many as 7,000 kidneys are illegally obtained by traffickers each year around the world.
While there is a black market for organs such as hearts, lungs and livers, kidneys are the most sought after organs because one can be removed from a patient without any ill effects.
According to international experts the trade operates in three ways, firstly with the victim being forced to give up an organ, secondly where they agree to sell and organ and finally where a vulnerable person is duped into thinking they need an operation and the organ is removed without their knowledge.
The process involves a number of people including the recruiter who identifies the victim, the person who arranges their transport, the medical professionals who perform the operation and the salesman who trades the organ.
The Salvation Army report also revealed the extent to which males were becoming the victims of people trafficking, mainly for labour exploitation.
Major Read said 41 per cent of the people they supported were men with the majority being trafficked from Eastern Europe and Africa.