Inquiry into illegal organ harvesting opens

The provenance of organs harvested for transplants is so concerning in Australia that a federal inquiry into illegal organ harvesting has been launched.

The aim is to help to deter organ trafficking and transplant tourism crimes.

The Catholic church in Australia supports voluntary, legal organ donation.

In a position statement in which a number of religious groups make their stance on organ donation clear, the Catholic church says “Many people owe their lives to organ and tissue transplants. Such new technologies are hailed by the Church as a great service to life.

“One way of nurturing a culture of life is through a willingness to donate organs and tissues with a view to offering a chance of health and even life itself to people who are sick.”

While Australia already has strict laws for ensuring and regulating ethical practices in organ donation and transplants, the legislation does not cover crimes that occur outside the country’s jurisdiction.

This is of concern as organs are harvested against people’s will from several parts of the world, including the Philippines, India, Central America, Egypt and the Middle East.

The donors may be “kidnapped, killed and sold, especially children, for their organs,” according to the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe.

In China, the UN says the majority of crimes occur within a controversial state-sanctioned system in which organs are sourced from prisoners.

The media suggests there have been about 10 to 20 cases of illegally harvested organs being used in Australian transplant surgery; however, some people think the number may be significantly higher.

Unfortunately there are few witnesses to this crime willing to stand up and be counted, which makes it difficult to estimate the number of Australians participating in illegal organ trafficking or transplant tourism.



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News category: World.

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