Bangladesh busts kidney trafficking gang

The racket persuaded up to 200 people to sell their kidneys for cash.

Dhaka: Bangladeshi police said Tuesday they
had uncovered a major organ trafficking ring that is believed
to have persuaded up to 200 people to sell their kidneys for
cash to patients in Singapore and India.

Three people were arrested on Sunday in the remote Kalai
area, 300 kilometres (180 miles) northwest of Dhaka, after
reports surfaced that villagers were having their organs
removed illegally.

"We have found that scores of poor villagers have sold
their kidneys for 150,000 to 200,000 taka (2,000 to 3,000
dollars)," local district police chief Fazlul Karim said.

"Some 38 villagers from five villages in the area have
sold their kidneys for cash -- but this is just the tip of the
iceberg. We believe there could be up to 200 victims," he

The police investigation has found that in some families
in the area -- which is one of the most impoverished regions
of Bangladesh -- four or five people had sold their kidneys,
he said.

The probe has been extended to Dhaka as investigators
suspect that the organ trafficking gang includes doctors,
nurses and businessmen working in the capital, he said.

"The three people we arrested are only low-level
operators. Two of them had even sold their kidneys and then
become part of the gang," he said.

"It is only natural to assume medical professionals are
involved," he said, adding that the gang was suspected of
selling organs to patients in Singapore and India.

Some of the affected villagers had become ill after their
operations, he said.

Under Bangladeshi law, kidney transplants are allowed
only if the organ is donated by a blood relative or spouse.


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