Investigations have found that a “fixer” in Sri Lanka is organising kidney transplants for British Nationals using social media.
The UK Mirror newspaper found that criminal gangs are cashing in on the poor and terminally ill by setting up deals to flog kidneys for transplants.
And some penniless people are so desperate for money just to survive they are willing to sell their organs on Facebook for as little as £1,200.
A Mirror investigation found a “fixer” in Sri Lanka who would organise a transplant package with a matching donor in days for £75,000.
He claimed he had set up more than 100 deals and was in the process of preparing to fly out another Brit for an operation at the same price.
Experts warned patients receiving kidneys from unregulated donors run the risk of catching killer infections, including HIV.
Facebook urged any of its 1.5billion monthly users to report any such offers.
A spokeswoman said: “Any indication of forced organ sale or someone offering a child’s organ for sale breaks our rules and would be removed from Facebook.
“In countries where it is illegal to offer organs for sale we would restrict content from being viewed when we receive an official request to do so.”
Buying or selling a kidney in Britain is illegal and can be punished by three years in jail.
But with more than 10,000 needing organs and one Brit dying every day on the waiting list, patients are taking desperate measures.
The Mirror investigation found hundreds have travelled to countries such as Pakistan, India and China, where laws may be less strictly enforced, to pay for new organs.
They are increasingly being lured by unscrupulous “dealers” on websites who match poor donors with paying patients, for a hefty fee.
But nearly half come back with serious infections and they are seven times more likely to die than those who get transplants on the NHS.
Within days of posting a request for a kidney for a sick relative on Facebook, we were messaged by a string of donors and fixers.
One, called “Sam”, claimed he could arrange legal kidney transplants for £75,000 within 20 days.
Confirming he was a “facilitator”, he said: “We will provide a healthy donor. The donor should be between 23 and 30 years old.
“We will take care of everything. If you come Sunday night you can start the process on Monday morning. Within one week we can finish surgery. We have done more than 100 transplants up until now.”
Sam claimed he could get permission from the Sri Lankan government to carry out unrelated transplants, when the donors and recipients are not family.
Asked how much the donor gets paid, he replied: “We can’t tell you but he will get a good payment.”
We understand crooks get around Sri Lanka’s laws against the kidney trade by pretending to the authorities that no money has changed hands.
Sam added: “We need to fill out some local paperwork. We will get it, guaranteed, no doubt.” The vile trade in human organs is worth £1billion a year to criminals.
Fiona Loud of the British Kidney Patient Association described it as a “trade in human misery”. She added: “It’s a shady world and it is mixed up with organised crime.
“The only people to gain are the brokers and middle men.
“You would be extremely ill-advised to buy a kidney on Facebook. People do get desperate. They wait a long time.
“Sometimes people never get the transplant they want. But I have spoken to doctors who have seen the consequences of people going abroad to buy a kidney.
“The outcomes are not good.
“Generally the standards of hygiene are not the same. People may come back here infected with HIV from the transplanted organ.
“A transplant from a living donor is an excellent treatment. But in the UK there are very strict ethical and legal guidelines. There are checks in place to ensure the donor is not under duress.”
Doctor revealed 40 British “transplant tourists” have travelled abroad to buy kidneys in 10 years from the West Midlands alone. (Colombo Gazette)