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Arrests in Indonesia, but organ trafficking continues

  • Published on
    September 5, 2023
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  • Category:
    Organ Trafficking
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According to The Diplomat, 12 people have been arrested as suspects in a transnational organ trafficking ring. The suspects include a police officer from Bekasi and a Balinese immigration officer, as well as nine former victims of organ trafficking. They are accused of luring as many as 122 Indonesian nationals to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where their kidneys were harvested for sale in Preah Ket Mealea Hospital. The immigration officer appears to have played a critical role in the organized crime, falsifying travel documents and receiving $200 per victim.

“The transnational trafficking group had been in operation since 2019 and had netted some $1.6 billion over the years, with each victim promised just $9,000 for a kidney.” – The Diplomat, according to Hengki Haryadi, the Jakarta police director for general crimes

Among the victims are teachers, executives, security guards, and factory workers who allegedly agreed to sell their kidneys in exchange for cash. According to the Jakarta police director for general crimes, they had lost their jobs during the pandemic and were desperate for money.

If convicted, the suspects can expect a maximum of 15 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $39,000. The immigration officer and the policeman are implicated in further charges related to the abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Not an uncommon occurrence

Organ trafficking is not a rarity in the region. Poverty, a shortage of employment, and the need for money make many Indonesians vulnerable to exploitation, in addition to low literacy and access to education. Criminals lure victims into thinking they will work abroad with tempting salaries and promises to pay for their travel and passport costs. However, upon arrival, many realize they must repay this debt. Then, their organs are taken and sold if they don’t work hard enough.

Furthermore, the geographical location of Indonesia and its weak borders exacerbate the problem. Victims are also often trafficked for forced labor or debt bondage from Indonesia to other Asian countries or the Middle East.

Lack of legislation and implementation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has prohibited paid organ donation since 1987. Indonesia is among the countries that outlaw the practice in their local legislation. They signed the Palermo Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which was signed into local law in 2009. In addition, the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, makes the country bound to the regional agreement since 2015.

In comparison to paid organ donation, voluntary organ donation is legal for anyone above the age of 18 who has permission from their doctor and family. Due to a lack of legislation, a persisting problem is the blurred lines between legal donation and illegal sale. This fuels the illegal organ trade. Furthermore, victims may also face criminal sanctions, preventing them from coming forward.

We have partnered with the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China in a campaign to push governments to step up and end forced organ trafficking. You can take action and sign the petition here!


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10 months ago

Torn on this topic. People worldwide trade their health for meagre pay, every day, doing jobs that break their bodies. Women face risk with each pregnancy. We no longer expect student athletes to risk CTE for free; at least some countries do allow paid surrogacy for pregnancies; “risk pay” is a thing; soldiers exist. Is there really no life-changing payment that would be moral, for donation of an organ? Not merely $9K of course (that’s only the average annual income in Indonesia).

10 months ago

Lord raise up teachers, preachers, and prophets in this country that will declare your goodness and peace over this nation. Forgive them for believing the lies of enemy and lose them from spiritual blindness to see you Jesus and the good you have planned for them, their families, and their economy. Protect them from further exploitation and vindicate them from the enemies attacks in Jesus name.

Colin Rose
Colin Rose
10 months ago

it would appear that certain hospitals do not have security measures in place to stop this happening this can only be because of inadequate gov. oversight where this is happening and possibly corruption.

Freedom United
10 months ago
Reply to  Graham Benvie

Thank you for highlighting that the comment ahead of yours does not meet our community guidelines and should have not been published. We note that comment has received several negative reactions showing that more of us share the same values. Since we failed to moderate correctly in this instance, we will not remove it so that your comment and this thread can be understood. We will endeavour to apply more care to moderating comments going forward.

rick be
rick be
10 months ago

$9,000 is a lot of money in some places.
If it is voluntary,so be it.

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