Counter Human Trafficking as a project:
One of the foundation pillars of Wildlife Protector is to assist vulnerable individuals that did or potentially may fall prey to human trafficking. This criminal phenomenon is a national and global disaster that is growing rapidly, to the detriment of our children and other vulnerable citizens.
It is important to bear in mind that human trafficking is a completely different action from kidnapping in that there are three components involved in the execution of such crimes:
· Act (Recruitment of the victim)
· Means (Manner in which control is taken over the victim)
· Purpose (Reason why the specific victim had been selected)
Apart from the different components, it is important to take note of the variety of role-players involved in human trafficking at large. First and foremost, it comes to mind that an abductor is the main culprit, but in reality, he/she is only one small gear in the larger operation. Photographers, medical professionals, web developers, customers and Government officials are involved to name a few.
The team of Wildlife Protector is quite clear on the fact that it would be impossible for us to eradicate this heinous crime, but even though one cannot save the world, for those that you can save, it will mean the world. It is our primary focus to create awareness and educate potential victims in a pro-active approach. In the future, Wildlife Protector will roll out a second phase in collaboration with our partner EDNA Africa, where potential victims would be identifiable through a global database of genomes (DNA sequence), enabling law enforcement agencies to trace and recover victims should this atrocity occur.
Please visit out website regularly to keep updated on the progress of our projects and initiatives.
One last thought – An array of predators walks amongst us, all races, all genders from all walks of life. Human trafficking is currently the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, expected to surpass drug trafficking.
Human Trafficking: Forced organ harvesting:
Interaction with members of the general public, made it glaringly evident that the larger community is unaware of the fact that human trafficking extends beyond acts involving sexual exploitation and abuse. Although sex slavery, prostitution and forced involvement in the making of pornography, certainly make up a substantial portion of human trafficking, there are far more action that are not commonly accepted as types of human trafficking. Forced labour, forced combat (Abducting children to act as child soldiers) and kidnapping for the use of surrogacy and organ harvesting contribute to the greater dilemma.
Shockingly the abduction of victims for the sole purpose of harvesting organs persists globally with the current hotspots including but not limited to China, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nepal, Brazil, the Philippines, Kosovo, Iran and several countries in Eastern Europe. While not at the top of the list, South Africa had also been mentioned as a country where this crime had been reported. (Commercial trading in human organs is legal in Iran) Harvesting and selling human organs for illegal transplantation is recognised as a pervasive felony, estimated to contribute to an estimated ten percent of all transplants done annually. This constitutes to approximately 10 000 organs per year which are forcefully harvested. Organ trafficking is said to be the practice of using exploitation, coercion or fraud to steal or illegally purchase or sell organs. Long waiting lists of patients in need of organ transplants drives many organ-awaiting patients to embark on the journey of illegal organ purchasing as a way out of a dire situation. Organs sold on the black-market are perceptibly sold at a high profit. Even though reliable statistics are not readily available, the WHO (World Health Organisation) believes that the phenomenon is gradually escalating. Globally the demand for organs surpassed the supply and subsequently created opportunity for human trafficking for organ harvesting.
Victims of this heinous crime include the impoverished, indebted, homeless, uneducated and refugees. Vulnerable populations are often targeted. According to information released by the United Nations in 2015, the majority of organ harvesting are done by coercion while instances of victims placed under anaesthetic or murdered for organs do occur, although rare. Reports had been received where victims were unsuspectingly drugged and, when lucky, woke up to find organs missing. Since perpetrators committing such crimes have no regard for human life, more often than not, when victims are not coerced into “selling” organs, the forced harvesting leads to the victim’s demise. Prices for organs range between USD 30 000 for corneas and USD 150 000 for lungs. Since humans are born with two kidneys, but only need one for survival, the trading in kidneys is extensive. In Iran, where organ trading is legal, a harvested kidney can be sold at between USD 2 000 and USD 4 000, while on the black-market prices as high as USD 160 000 can be fetched. The profit is reported to be shared among an array of “agents” involved in the harvesting, with only a small portion paid to the donor or victim. Individuals who had in the past reported to have been victims of organ harvesting by means of coercion, indicated that they rarely received full payment for the organ in question. Subsequently to the victims being part of a barely recognised portion of the population and as a result of their involvement in a crime (Selling organs remains illegal in all countries besides Iran), taking direct action to be paid in full is not an option.
Legalisation of organ trade had been proposed as a possible strategy to combat human trafficking for the sake of organ harvesting. Arguments for the legalisation of organ trading include increased organ supply, minimal negative consequences for donors when organs are harvested in medically controlled circumstances, respect for autonomy and harm reduction. On the contrary susceptibility to coercion, direct harms of organ selling, objectification and increased pressure to sell an organ had been stated against the legalisation of organ trading.
Preventing or reducing human trafficking for the purpose of organ harvesting should include education and awareness campaigns, legal assistance for the protection of victims, pro-active identification of potential victims and effective law enforcement. Due to the insignificant media coverage of this crime, it is up to every global citizen to act against any form of human trafficking. Speak out when you suspect such a crime to be committed, educate yourself, relatives and friends about the phenomenon and remain abreast of your immediate surroundings to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. It is evident that more action needs to be taken and only a collective effort can yield the desired outcome of reducing and ultimately (Not likely) eradicating the occurrence of forced organ donation and human trafficking at large. Although there is no quick fix, every bit of effort CAN and WILL make a difference.
Become aware, speak up and educate.