A three-year News Corp investigation has found almost 100 desperate Australians have paid to have an illegal transplant overseas because demand for organs in Australia outstrips supply.
Sri Lankan Refugee advocate Samuel Chandrahasan says around 500 Sri Lankan refugees have sold their organs in the last three years to help cover the $3,000 bill to get to Australia by boat.
“Men and women have been exploited and they are cheated … and this is most offensive,” he told News Corp.
“No-one in the refugee camps has been involved but (refugees) outside have been victimised.
“The people who get involved in this people smuggling effort become indebted and their families left behind have enormous problems they face having to pay back the loans,” he says.
Chandrahasan says the refugees are taken to hospitals in Colombo where their kidneys are removed.
“The numbers are close to a few hundred over a period of three years.”
News Corp has spoken to doctors in Sri Lanka who confirm there is a booming trade in organ trafficking in that country with up to 13 doctors involved.
Doctors trying to close down the trade have received death threats.
News Corp interviewed six Sri Lankan refugees living in India who said they were aware of fellow refugees who had sold their kidneys to get to Australia.
“I have heard and seen people donate a kidney in the camp,” a 42 year old mother living in a refugee camp told News Corp.
“For their children they will do whatever they can do to get to Australia.”
It’s estimated around 1,000 foreigners from Israel, Malaysia, the Maldives and other countries are travelling to Sri Lanka each year to buy a human organ and have it transplanted.
Sri Lankan doctors are making lots of money, up to $60,000 per transplant, and the operations are taking place in private hospitals.
Sri Lankan authorities are turning a blind eye because they share in some of the payment, News Corp has been told.
“Organ sales are rife in Sri Lanka, it’s a cesspit,” says Professor Jeremy Chapman the head of the International Transplantation Society dedicated to ending organ trafficking. (Colombo Gazette)