Advocacy Ethical Considerations Organ Markets

Organ Trafficking Case Reveals How Government Fails Living Donors

Bluntly put: Nancy Scheper-Hughes is a bad-ass cloaked in a demure anthropologist’s body. Her work on behalf of organ trafficking victims is unparalleled. Now, she’s written a no-holds-barred article on the recently plea bargained Rosenbaum case.

Counterpunch: The Rosenbaum Kidney Trafficking Gang

An excerpt:

But my attempts to get the attention of transplant societies, to alert health officials at US Health & Human Services, UNOS, Medicare, The New York Commissioner of Health, the media – The New Yorker Magazine , 60 Minutes, and, finally, (at the suggestion of the NY Commissioner of Health) a NYC FBI agent in 2002… led nowhere.

Nobody, it seemed , cared about transplant trafficking.


When I learned on a documentary film trip to Moldova that some young men recruited from economically demolished rural villages there ended up supplying kidneys to hospitals in New York City I reported this information (verified by officials at the US Embassy in Chisinau) to US Visa Control in Arlington, Virginia, to UNOS, to HHS, to The New York Commissioner of Health, the American Transplant Association and, finally, to a NYC FBI agent — to no avail.

Nobody cared about, or even believed in, human trafficking for organs. I went to the media, to CBS, to 60 Minutes and then to 48 Hours which did send an investigative reporter, Avi Cohan, to meet me in Israel where we spoke to patients who had had “undercover” transplants at hospitals in NYC Philadelphia, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles. CBS decided not to do the exposé. I was stumped. No one wanted to accuse surgeons, or prevent a suffering patient from getting a transplant, even with an illegally procured kidney from a displaced person from abroad.

2 replies on “Organ Trafficking Case Reveals How Government Fails Living Donors”

Add Your Thoughts