Syrian refugees selling kidneys to survive

Michael Cook
16 Nov 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Lebanon: a country where there are sick people with money, healthy Syrian refugees without money, skilled doctors, and no effective government regulation. It's a perfect mix for black-market organ trafficking, according to Der Spiegel. The German news magazine interviewed an organ broker who was happily sourcing kidneys from young Syrians desperate for cash.

One of his clients was Raid, a 19-year-old former player for the Syrian national youth soccer team from Aleppo. Now he, his parents and his six brothers and sisters are all living in Beirut without an income. Raid sold his kidney for about US$7,000; the recipient will probably pay about $14,000. The broker, a 26-year-old named Abu Hussein, will get about $700 as a commission. He is one of five brokers working for a shady boss known as the Big Man. Business is booming: with one million destitute Syrians living in Lebanon, the price for a kidney is falling.