Monday, May 3, 2010

Kidneys for sale

The rapid increase in poverty in Pakistan has exposed the poor to extreme hazards. The very poor, who are perpetually indebted to the feudals who employ them, have resorted to selling kidneys to pay back their loans.

image An ethnographic study of kidney vendors near Sargodha in Pakistan suggested that high-income patients needing kidney transplant are now heading to Pakistan to buy kidneys in the open (black) market from the destitutes. The trade is now well organized where some hospitals specialize in such practices.

The report revealed that kidney vendors develop serious psychological problems and the money earned seldom helps them with their debt problems. The study also revealed that there were multiple kidney vendors from the same households.

With chronic power shortages racking havoc on society and the economy, exports of traditional items, such as textiles, cotton, and sporting goods are failing. The poor in Pakistan are now forced to export their body parts.


Farhat Moazam, Riffat Moazam Zaman, and Aamir M. Jafarey, “Conversations with Kidney Vendors in Pakistan: An Ethnographic Study,” Hastings Center Report 39, no. 3 (2009): 29-44.

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