Yemenis forced to sell organs to save their family from hunger

Ruins of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sana’a, Yemen Ruins of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sana’a, Yemen Hani Mohammed/AP

18 September 2017
The Yemen Organisation for Combating Human Trafficking has reported 300 case of organs sales in Egypt since the beginning of war in March 2015.

The life conditions of the Yemeni population are deteriorating as the war continues. The Yemeni Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves have decreased from $4.7 billion in 2014 to $1 billion in 2016. Consequently,  those citizens working for the public sector have not been paid regularly for several months. This situation has forced many people to do anything to guarantee a consistent income for the whole family, including organ sale.

Normally kidneys, liver, lobes and corneas are the most traded organs and their prices  vary, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. This amount of money will actually support an entire family for few months, but it requires a dangerous procedure since the surgery is usually conducted illegally in Egypt or Yemen, without a qualified staff nor postoperative care. The brokers’ network recruits men, mainly ages between 28 and 40, in shisha bars or coffee shops. Once the agreement is done, they create fake medical documents and organize the journey to Cairo, to later sell these organs in several countries for as high as  $100,000.

The country is facing  a terrible humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, there are nearly 18.8 people who need international assistance and 7.3 million who are struggling with hunger and extreme poverty. In the meantime, Yemen is split in two because of the presence of two opposing forces, the Houthi movement and the exiled government forces, which are supported by Saudi Arabia.


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