Syrian Refugees Selling Their Organs to Survive

Market is hot in Lebanon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2014 2:15 PM CST
Syrian Refugees Selling Their Organs to Survive

This is the plight of refugees streaming out of Syria: One of the hottest markets in neighboring Lebanon is the black-market sale of their human organs, reports Vocative. Given that it is, in fact, a black market, it's hard to pin down numbers. But Lebanon's look-the-other-way attitude, its convenience for rich patients from Gulf states, and the hundreds of thousands of Syrians pouring over the border are combining to turn Lebanon into what Vocative calls the "go-to country in the region" for kidneys and other organs.

The story includes an interview not only with a young man who recently sold his kidney for $5,000 but the "kidney hunter" who arranged the sale for his own $2,000 payday. That broker alone has arranged about 35 such operations—they take place at a secret clinic that sounds reasonably well-run, given the circumstances—and he says he has plenty of competition. A previous story by Der Spiegel also reported on the thriving market, and it included this unfortunate line from a different organ broker: "I'm currently looking for someone who has an eye for sale." (Click to read about how war crimes prosecutors say Bashar al-Assad is systematically torturing and killing prisoners back home.)

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