Bodies for Sale: Assessing the Features & Maintenance of Illicit Organ Markets

University essay from Lunds universitet/Sociologi

Author: Laura Belz; [2020]

Keywords: Social Sciences;

Abstract: Illicit organ markets coincides with medical advancements and greater global interconnectedness. Many organ vendors come from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and are coerced into the sale which lacks the altruistic notion often associated with transplantation. This is a case study based on a literature review with a focus on Sudanese migrants in Cairo, Egypt. The purpose of this study is to investigate illicit organ trade by examining how structural features drive kidney markets. Short-term impacts on vendors are the second object of inquiry. This thesis focuses specifically on kidney trade due to high demand for kidneys worldwide. Body commodification theory and labor commodification theory provide the framework for analysis. There are two key findings in this study. First, it was found that organ trade is facilitated by ineffective UNHCR policies, a lack of cohesion within the medical community, and economic exclusion which leads to kidney sale. Second, short-term outcomes for vendors included fatigue, inability to work, depression, social stigma, and reduced income. The study concludes that the intentional neglect of the Egyptian state of migrants heightens their vulnerability which creates an underclass of kidney vendors.

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