While central bankers and politicians alike celebrate the great recorvery in the UK, the nation is increasingly divided between the haves and have-nots (or Londoners and non-Londoners). In no way is that more clearly evident that a dreadful new trend that, as The Sunday Post reports, desperate Brits are turning to Facebook to advertise their organs for sale at up to $50,000 despite the medical and legal risks involved.
Cash-strapped Britons are lining up to sell a kidney on the black market, a Sunday Post investigation has revealed.
Our reporter posed as the brother of a woman desperately needing a transplant and placed an advert on a Facebook page specifically set up to buy and sell organs.
Within a week he had received 11 offers from desperate people worldwide willing to risk their lives to drag themselves out of poverty.
Many of the black market operations take place in India, Pakistan or China in an underground industry controlled by ruthless gangs.
Among the people to contact us was a man from north-east England who claimed he realised it “would be a big thing to do but for the right amount I would be willing”. Our reporter held detailed discussions with the self-employed dad-of-three, including his blood type, the state of his health, a £30,000 payment for the donation and arrangements to meet in person.
A 22-year-old dad living in Northampton was happy to accept £20,000 for his kidney because he and his pregnant fiancee desperately need to raise enough money to return to their native Hungary.
The cash-strapped dad, who has studied at two colleges in Northamptonshire, became frustrated our reporter was not progressing the deal quickly enough and has since placed a new advert, wanting a sale “as soon as possible”.
A 28-year-old man from Banchory, Aberdeenshire, placed a message online in which he claimed he would talk to anyone willing “to make an offer”.
A mum from Hampshire has placed two adverts online describing herself as having an O-negative blood type and “has a passport” suggesting she is prepared to travel abroad.
In the UK it is an offence under the Human Tissue Act to buy or even advertise organs for sale. This means that anyone offering to sell their own organs – even if they intend to travel abroad to have the operation – could face prison.
Alan Clamp, chief executive of the Human Tissue Authority which regulates live organ donations throughout the UK, said: “It is illegal to offer or seek payment for organs for sale under the Human Tissue Act, and no operation from a living donor can go ahead without our approval.
“Before a transplant from a living donor goes ahead, the hospital transplant team will assess if the donor is suitable and run several tests to ensure the transplant will be as successful as possible.
“An independent assessor, acting on behalf of the HTA, will then carry out interviews with both parties and report back.
“We need to satisfy ourselves that the donor knows the risks involved, that the donor has given consent freely and no reward has been offered or received."
Welcome to the recovery, Brits!