Police in Pakistan rescued 24 people from an organ trafficking gang, according to a report this week.
The two-dozen people had been kept in a building in an upscale suburb in Rawalpindi, and they were awaiting the forced removal of their kidneys. “We will remove your kidney, and you will receive 300,000 rupees,” or about $2,800, one of the captors told them, reported the BBC.
Three people, who were not named, are slated to appear in a Pakistani court next month for illegal transplants and trafficking. They deny the charges against them.
In recent years, more light has been shed on the grisly practice of organ harvesting—particularly in China, where hundreds of thousands may have been killed for their organs over the past 15 years or so. According to a report from human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian parliamentarian David Kilgour in June of last year, a network of Chinese state-run hospitals have carried out 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants each year—and they’re mostly harvested from persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, a type of traditional Chinese meditation practice.
The BBC, in its report on Tuesday, cited Pakistani police as saying that victims were lured to Rawalpindi in the hope of getting jobs.
“There were 20 to 25 other persons sitting. I was told to shut up and be quiet and sit there,” Sadi Ahmed told the broadcaster. “About 10 minutes later, the agent arrived and said get ready as I was going in for a test.”
He noted: “I asked, ‘What type of a test are you taking me for? What type of work are you offering?’.”
Then, the traffickers told him they wanted $2,800 for his kidney after tests.
Mirza Naqi Zafar, head of the Pakistan Transplantation Society, told the BBC that there was a ban on commercial transplants in 2010, but a resurgence in illegal transplants in recent years.
Zafar said that in Pakistan, black market prices on the procedure range from $50,000 to $60,000.