Nepal – famous for its high-altitude peaks and colorful religious customs - has recently become the focus of concerns over illegal trafficking in human organs. It is especially in the village of Hokshe that residents sell their organs in exchange for money to pay for houses or medical care. Kidneys are the most commonly sold organs. Organ traffickers act with impunity, while nearly all the people of Hokshe know someone who has sold a kidney on the black market.
Hokshe is a village where people live in mud huts and eke out a living on small farms. For decades, illegal trafficking in organs has supplemented their income. Out of 4000 inhabitants, 121 have sold at least one kidney, although unofficial estimates claim that the number is far higher. Hokshe has become known as "the kidney bank." For decades, smugglers have convinced illiterate laborers and poor farmers in the area near Kathmandu sell their organs. Lured by promises of earning hundreds of thousands of dollars, donors are forced to go to India for surgery.
Until 2008 the operation was illegal. Latter reforms allowed donations only to close family members and with strict monitoring by the government. Years of campaigns, along with a more recent monitoring by the police, have slowed trafficking in organs significantly. In 2013, police arrested ten traffickers. Three of them are in prison. Others are free on bail and awaiting trial.
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