By Jeremy Haken, August 30, 2010
When you first hear about it, the trafficking of human organs sounds like a gruesome black-market practice, carried out by the shadowy characters of the global criminal underworld. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Just Google “organ trafficking” and you’ll see hundreds of pictures of people holding up their shirts to reveal long scars from where their kidneys have been removed. None of the people photographed look like your college roommate or the captain of the tennis team. None of them are reclined in a plush Manhattan parlor or smiling as they climb into the back of a town car. They’re usually sitting on the dirty city streets of developing countries or lying on hospital cots looking undernourished and desperate. Add to this image the unconfirmed reports of people being kidnapped for the express purpose of organ removal and the whole business just seems disgusting and hellish.