Due to their precarious status, undocumented migrants are being targeted for their organs. The link between migrant populations and organ sales is exacerbated by the current political climate across the Middle-East and North Africa. Migrant routes ranging across Lebanon, Egypt and Libya have become key sites for recruiting organ sellers, by networks of intermediaries with links to transplant centers and hospitals in Cairo, Egypt. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Sudanese migrants who have sold or arranged for the sale of kidneys in Cairo, this study examines the implications of current legal and policy measures in the Egyptian-Sudanese context. Recent findings (November, 2017) suggest that attempts to prohibit the commercial exchange of organs via the imposition or threat of criminal sanction has pushed the trade further underground and created an opportunity for organized crime to enter the market. While the threat of arrest has, ostensibly, led to fewer (reported) cases of organ commercialism, there has been an increase in organ ‘trafficking’, resulting in increased violence and exploitation. The core aim of this paper is to demonstrate how law and policy produces and constructs vulnerability to exploitation in organ markets, explicating the theoretical and practical implications of the prevailing law enforcement model in response to the organ trade.
The Sociology Seminar Series is convened by John Ermisch and Federico Varese. For more information about this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact email@example.com.