This might sound unreal but it is frigging true, the villagers of Hokse, Nepal, are so poor that they’re forced to sell their own kidneys to the organ traffickers in order to make ends meet. The practice is so common there that the place has been nicknamed ‘Kidney Village’.
The so-called “organ brokers”visit the villages around Kathmandu to persuade people to sell body part. Some of the villagers say they feel tricked into selling when they were told by the traffickers their kidney would grow back. They cook up all sorts of tales, telling the poor villagers that humans only need one kidney for survival or that the organ, once removed, will grow back! That particular trick was used to fool Geetha, a mother-of-four who sold her kidney for only $2,000.
But as her family grew, her desire to provide them with a house got stronger.
So she traveled with her sister-in-law, an organ broker, to India, and underwent the operation. The procedure took only half-an-hour to complete, but she remained at the hospital for three weeks.
When I woke up after the operation I felt like nothing had happened and I was surprised that it was already done. I was then paid 200,000 Nepalese rupees for my kidney and went home to my village to buy my own house and some land,” she said.
Unfortunately, Geetha’s house – the one she paid for with her kidney – was destroyed in a deadly earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25. The disaster left lots of villagers homeless, forcing them to turn to alcohol to drown their sorrows. And under the circumstances, the organ tradehad boomed, turning the country into a ‘kidney bank’ of sorts. Although illegal, there are an estimated 10,000 black-market operations with up to 7,000 kidneys sold every year.
I was given an injection which made me unconscious for 24 hours. When I awoke, I was in a hospital bed. They had taken my kidney,” he said.
Since the earthquake, the number of desperate for money Nepalese turning to organ farms as a source of income has increased. The booming trade has turned the country into a ‘kidney bank’, which medical experts predict the number of people in the country doing it is likely to double in the coming years.
This illegal trade has risen to such a level that an estimated 10,000 black-market operations involving purchased human organs now take place annually – more than one every hour – according to the World Health Organisation.
Up to 7,000 kidneys are obtained illegally every year, according to a report by Global Financial Integrity.