The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have decried the widespread “immoral and grossly exploitative” practice of soliciting donations of vital human organs which offends the dignity of the person as a means of making money, reports Fides.
The Bishops' Conference says that organ trafficking is spreading, with kidneys becoming the organ of choice for the profiteers. The bishops also warn that the practice is “steadily thriving in rural and urban poor communities".
According to the Filipino prelates, the organ trafficking is “in the hands of organised crime which does not hesitate to abduct and kill street children, homeless people, ordinary people for the trafficking of vital organs.”
The Bishops' Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace raised the alarm. “Organ trade is without regard for charity and altruism, without regard for compassion, and certainly without regard for love; only for self-preservation and deception, fuelled by greed and destitution,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said in a statement.
The Commission said the number of organ transplant operations in the country had grown from 200 to 400 a day. “Wealthy and middle-class patients from Europe and the United States with end-stage renal diseases flock to the Philippines to avail of the cheap transplant procedures,” the statement said. The Commission said for $50,000 foreigners may undergo organ transplants in any premier hospital in Metro Manila.
The Bishops condemned the traffickers who prey on poor and impoverished people who have weak bargaining power and are unaware of the risks involved. After selling their kidneys, most of them remained desperately poor. Treating the body “as an ‘object’ is to violate the dignity of the human person” the Bishops said, reaffirming the dignity of every human person.
The Bishops called for more stringent laws to address the illegal organ trade and punish person convicted of recruitment, hiring, adoption, transport and abduction of persons for the purpose of removal or sale of organs.