Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

I went inside dark world of organ trading where backstreet surgeons butcher live victims and sell kidneys for £150K | The Sun

VITAL organs are being cut out of victims while they are alive in order to satisfy demand, claims a murderous backstreet surgeon.

The illegal trade in kidneys and livers for transplantation is growing, with the black market business estimated to be worth £1billion.

Desperate customers, facing death if they don’t receive a matched organ, are willing to pay up to £150,000 for one.

But most buyers do not realise that the kidney or liver being transplanted into their body might have been removed by force.

Criminal gangs are kidnapping children, the homeless and refugees – and murdering them for their body parts.

In the new series of the National Geographic documentary Trafficked one South American cartel member claims he slices these unwilling participants while they are still breathing.

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The man, nicknamed Wrecker, tells investigative reporter Mariana van Zeller his job is “murdering people, extracting organs”.

Slice some bodies alive, tied up to extract their organs, kidneys, livers

He says his role is “to slice some bodies alive, tied up to extract their organs, kidneys, livers, we’ve even exported skin from time to time”.

The anonymous backstreet operator in the town of Necocli in northern Colombia claims: “We grab migrants. We have many here.”

He said he had killed “dozens” of them, earning up to £15,000 a time.

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The town’s position on the coast means it is a good point to smuggle all kinds of contraband into neighbouring Panama via the sea and then onto the United States.

Horrific videos

Mariana knew her source really was a gangster because she had been introduced to him by one of the commanders in the Clan del Golfo in Colombia.

But even when he showed her horrifying videos of his ‘work’, she struggled to believe he was committing such inhuman crimes. 

Mariana told The Sun: “The vast majority of the time I believe what people are telling me, because they don’t have much motivation to lie.

“What he was boasting about – the number of bodies he’s opened up, the cruelty of his actions and how the organs were going to the United States – I wasn't quite sure.

People are being taken off the streets and having their organs removed

“But what is the motivation to tell us such horrific things?

“I know he is involved, but how much was boasting I am not sure. 

“But I do know it is happening. People are being taken off the streets and having their organs removed.”

Colombia's deadliest gang

The Clan del Golfo is believed to be Colombia’s largest criminal organisation with around 4,000 members.

Its main trade is cocaine, but they are involved in any black market operation which will make them money.

Wealthy patients in the Americas are willing to pay top dollar for illegally harvested organs if they are not prepared to wait in line for a legal one.

A kidney lasts about 48 hours in a well maintained ice box

Mariana is sceptical that any of the body parts removed in Colombia by gangs are bound for the United States because “a kidney lasts about 48 hours in a well maintained ice box and it has to be fast."

She thinks it is more likely recipients will be in countries closer by.

Worldwide network

Even though the South American organs will not end up in Britain, where nearly 5,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, there is an illegal and bloody trade in Europe.

Human beings are born with two kidneys but need only one to survive.

With 268 patients in Britain dying in a year because they failed to receive a kidney in time through official channels, many are willing to travel to far flung countries in order to buy one.

Deals are done via social media, with patients agreeing to travel to have operations done abroad.

It is possible some might go as far as South America.

Black market dangers

The World Health Organisation has estimated that 10,000 kidneys are traded on the black market worldwide annually – more than one every hour.

But there are many risks involved in the black market trade – with organ failure rate much higher and the transmission of HIV or hepatitis B and C not uncommon. 

Buyers might believe that the donors are simply impoverished people willing to give up a kidney.

The truth, though, is that criminal networks increasingly engage in kidnappings, especially of children and teenagers, in order to find donors.

Many of the victims are refugees, whose lack of official status makes them targets for gangsters.

They are taken to secret locations where they are murdered and their organs harvested.

In the United States there are over 100,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list and around 20 of them die every day.

We met people who were able to corroborate the trade

Mariana felt sure Wrecker was involved in some way because his bosses were bona fide gangsters.

She says: “We knew he was an operator, because we had already done a story with his boss. He was one of the commanders in the clan El Golfo.

“We also travelled to Mexico and met people who were able to corroborate the trade.”

In the UK this black market trade should be reduced now that the consent to donate an organ is assumed to have been given by a dead person.

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The NHS Organ Donor Register and National Transplant Register carried out 4,400 transplants last year.

Trafficked: Black Market Organs is on National Geographic on Sunday February 26 at 9pm.

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