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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 16:51 GMT
Impoverished Indians advertise kidneys
Philippine men display scars from selling their kidneys
People in the developing world often resort to selling kidneys
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By the BBC's Ayanjit Sen
In Delhi
Five men have taken out an advertisement in an Indian magazine to offer their kidneys for sale

Kidney patients needing transplants in India often advertise for donors, and Indians often sell their kidneys to earn money, but it is rare for people to advertise.

I am a daily wage labourer and have a family comprising of my mother, a sister and a younger brother to support

Atul Saikia
The state authorities say the advert is illegal.

They have referred the case to the police.

The men - Atul Saikia, Padum Bania, Bhaiti Bora, Kushal Bora and Babua - all in their late 20s and early 30s, advertised in 'Kabach,' a regional magazine in the town of Nagaon, about 100km from Guwahati, the capital of north-eastern Assam state.

The advert contains the names and blood groups of the five donors, and explains that each of them have decided to sell one of their kidneys to financially support their family.

There have been no takers so far.

Business aspirations

One of the men - Atul Saikia - told the BBC he wanted to sell one of his kidneys for $4,000 and use the money to set up a shop.

"I am a daily wage labourer and have a family comprising of my mother, a sister and a younger brother to support,'' he said.

The district deputy commissioner - Mr Prateek Hajela - said the advert was illegal and the case has been referred to the police to take necessary action.

''No incident of this nature has ever taken place here," he said.

'Not starving'

The advertisers were poor but not starving, Mr Hajela said.

Two of them were daily labourers while the others run barber shops with a daily income of less than $2. Most of them have a big family to support.

The men knew that it was possible to survive with only one kidney according to a local journalist, Surajit Kumar Bhagowati.

The sale of organs is prohibited in India by the 1994 Organ Transplantation Act.

Valuable income

But experts say poor Indians willingly sell their kidneys to pay for a daughter's dowry, feed their families or even to build houses.

They say these people sell their kidneys for very little money.

Seven years ago, customs officers in the Indian capital Delhi uncovered a kidney racket whereby donors were duped into travelling abroad where their kidneys were removed for transplants.

In the same year, police in the southern Indian city of Bangalore alleged that doctors in a leading hospital removed the kidneys of nearly 100 people without their knowledge. The case is still going on in court.

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