Desperate times call for desperate measures.
However, some may argue that Syrian refugees are taking that time-old phrase too literally, considering current events.
The illegal trade of human organs has always been an issue, but now it has become a growing trend in Syria as well as in neighboring countries. Cross-border networks have been established to exploit Syrian refugees desperate to leave the country.
This new system in Syria purchases organs from Syrians, such as kidneys, and ships them off to nearby countries. Some organs have been stolen from Syrian prisoners of war, too, says Newsweek.
Syrian Refugees Growing in Number
Syrian refugees have been pouring across the border, and while some countries have accepted them, others are limited their access due to terrorist threats.
Human organ trade networks are preying on those refugees who are seeking survival. They know that they need money to get across the border and establish a new life; therefore, they invite them to sell their organs. These organs come with a high price to clients from all over the world.
In exchange for their organs, these refugees are then able to make their way into Europe.
One Syrian man shared his story with Vocativ discussing how he planned to sell his kidney to earn a living and support his family so that they could relocate. He posted in a group on Facebook known as “Sell Kidney Online,” and listed his blood type and information.
The price lists for kidneys averages $650 in Kenya to as much as $300,000 in South Africa. Selling just one organ is often enough to help a refugee pay their smuggler’s fee, which is usually $1,000 per person. The fee, however, only earns the refugee a questionable ride across the sea — where they are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Egypt and Turkey See Heightened Smuggling Numbers
The trafficking of human organs has increased in Egypt and Turkey primarily because of a large number of migrants and refugees entering the countries. The money is funding criminal networks and terrorist organizations.
One ABC News report found that the money earned from these illegal sales were similar to that of money laundering, and they are funding the largest criminal and terrorist groups in the world. Most of the countries are already associated with terrorism, including Syria. So, investigators are more than aware of where the money is coming from.
In some cases, the money is directly and indirectly funding ISIS operations, according to the ABC News report. The people who are taking the money are working for the human smugglers who feed refugees into Europe illegally. Some flow money directly to ISIS as part of their smuggling operations.
The money from these organ sales is helping pay the people who supply weapons and provide ISIS fighters, too. So, even if the money does not directly flow to terrorist groups, it still can support ISIS indirectly.
Already the Vatican and other religious groups from around the world have been working to limit the number of victims, and create world awareness about what is going on with Syrian refugees who are desperate to improve their lives.