Please remember that there are other forms of human trafficking that occur all over the world. However, we are so focused on sex trafficking that we tend to forget about the other victims that suffer. It is great to advocate for sex trafficking of children and as of late, there have been numerous success stories popping up all over the U.S. However, because so many of anti trafficking organizations and the community in general has chosen to only focus on sex trafficking, the other types of trafficking are beginning to flourish. As I have mentioned time and time again, we need to come to terms with the fact that we are all a part of the demand for labor trafficking, and there is a large demand for organs. Although this story is based out of the Philippines, this does not mean that it is not happening here. The difference between the Philippines and the U.S is that the Philippines is brave enough to admit this is happening in their own backyard. We however, want to hide that fact that organ trafficking exists.
It’s time for us to speak out and do what we can to protect our children, and not just protect them from being sold for sex, but protect them from having their organs sold and protect them from being forced to work in deplorable and hazardous conditions all in the name of making a larger profit.
By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:15:00 11/11/2010
Filed Under: Children, Health
MANILA, Philippines—Children are now being used as organ “donors” to non-related rich patients who are in need of kidney transplants, a non-government organization fighting child trafficking said Wednesday.
Dr. Amihan Abueva, regional director of the Asia Against Child Trafficking group, said a recent study conducted in Quezon province reported at least two cases of 16-year-old boys becoming kidney donors.
In the first case, she said, the boy was recruited and was never asked by the hospital authorities about his age.
The second boy had said he did it because he wanted to raise money so his mother could set up a store.
At the weekly Health Forum sponsored by the Philippine College of Physicians in Quezon City, Abueva said a follow-up of both cases showed the donors’ families did not prosper despite the huge sum of money they received.
Abueva also said researchers suspect a link between parents who have been kidney donors and some children recruited as organ donors.
“I think we have to see the link: these adults who sold their kidneys also have children, and because their economic situation has not improved, that means that the children, the whole family is still at risk of being trafficked,” Abueva said.
She said that the group had seen a case where the father has already sold his kidney and when the money ran out, his son was the next to sell his kidney, and then a brother.
She said there are oftentimes clusters of people who sell their kidneys—father, son, cousins and neighbors.
“This is something that should be a concern for all of us. The potential of trafficking the younger generation of the victims is very real,” she said.
Technically, only persons who have reached the age of 18 have the capacity to make a major decision such as an organ donation, Abueva said.
“The rules are broken again and again,” Abueva said.
Dr. Lynn Almazan-Gomez, former president of the Philippine Society of Nephrology (2006-2008) said the number of kidney transplants has been increasing every year, with living donors markedly outnumbering transplants from deceased donors.
Gomez said there were about 8,500 new dialysis patients yearly. Of some 11,000 currently on dialysis, 50 percent are fit for transplantation but only 30 percent can afford its cost.
The government prohibits the sale and trafficking of organs and has been promoting organ donation from deceased donors.