The Invisible Issue of Organ Laundering

In this seminar Ana Manzano & Mark Monaghan explore the reasons why organ trafficking remains un(der)reported.


Although suggesting measures to deter organ trafficking, global institutions reiterate the lack of official statistics about this illegal trade as a stumbling block for effective action. Statistical concealment is a well-defined aspect of much criminality and organ trafficking is no different. Factors relating to relating to various forms of transnational criminality, alongside those specific to the trade in illicit organs, perpetually obscure the true extent of the problem. These factors include: (a) issues of globalization, jurisdiction, and law enforcement; (b) the power of health care professionals; (c) the reimbursement of transplantation costs abroad by insurers; (d) ambivalence of the victim status of the sellers; and (e) the buyers as vulnerable offenders. In this paper, we explore the reasons why organ trafficking remains un(der)reported. We argue that the complex factors discussed increase the invisibility of the illicit organ trade by facilitating the ‘laundering’ of trafficked organs into the health care systems of the purchaser’s country. Not only do these hinder accurate estimations of the problem, but they also disrupt coordinated efforts to police and deter the problem.


Location Details

Social Sciences Building, Room 12.21/12.25, Level 12