Despite the passing of laws forbidding organ sales, socioeconomically vulnerable people in the global south continue to sell parts of their body to survive.
In 1994, India’s Parliament passed the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) to make organ sales illegal. Although superficially beneficial, the lived outcomes of this action were anything but advantageous.
After THOA was passed, clinics and brokers organizing international organ transplantation began targeting “Indian-looking” donors.
On August 29, 2011, India passed the Transplantation of Human Organs Amendment bill to stem illegal organ trafficking and help would-be donor recipients.
The legal regulations of organ sales in South India permit transplantation “if donors [are] related to recipients in one of four permitted ways: as parents, children, siblings, or spouses.”
Despite the lack of language about gender in India’s law, the transplantation industry is disproportionately affecting women.
Children, too, are often victims of organ trafficking. According to the World Health Organization, 65,000 children each year are targeted for organ sales.
According to Dr. Carvalho, demand for organs continuously outstrips supply “by a conservative factor of two to one.” Such a market grants liver donors in India a maximum payment of $ 1,650. Buyers in Europe and the United States, on the other hand, pay up to $8,500 per organ, an increase of nearly eight-fold.