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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Indians selling human organs
Madras, India
Many people in Madras have sold one of their kidneys
India's trade in human organs is growing despite a government ban introduced 10 years ago.

A BBC investigation has found that many of the poorest people in India continue to sell their kidneys for the equivalent of just stg£400.

The men and women who volunteer to have a kidney removed say they need to money to pay off debts and to buy food.


They've got to put themselves in the shoes of not only the patient who is dying but also in the shoes of the person who is donating the kidney

Dr JK Reddy, surgeon
One area of the Indian city of Madras has been nicknamed 'kidney district' because so many people have sold their kidney.

There is little or no work in the slums of Madras. Many earn as little as 70 pence a day.

One woman told the BBC she earned two-years worth of wages by selling on kidney.

She sold her kidney for £400 to a man from Singapore who desperately needed a transplant.

He is believed to have paid up to £20,000 for the organ. That money went to a middle man.

Trade banned

The Indian government introduced a law to ban the trade in human organs a decade ago.

However, critics say that move simply drove the practise underground.

Dr JK Reddy
Dr Reddy said he understood why people sold organs
Dr J K Reddy, a consultant surgeon in Madras, suggested the government should change the law.

He told the BBC: "They've got to put themselves in the shoes of not only the patient who is dying but also in the shoes of the person who is donating the kidney even if it is for financial reasons."

Many people in India sell their kidneys to westerners who have been waiting for a transplant.

In Britain, two GPs have recently been found guilty of encouraging the trade in human organs.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"In virtually every single house in this street someone has sold one of their kidneys"
See also:

15 Oct 02 | Health
30 Aug 02 | Health
30 Aug 02 | Health
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