• Sat. May 20th, 2023

Iranians are resorting to selling organs on Telegram to make ends meet

Amid soaring inflation and widespread poverty, Iran finds itself grappling with a distressing phenomenon — people resorting to extreme measures to alleviate their debt burdens, including the sale of body parts.

Extensive analysis of messages Telegram reveals a distressing trend, where impoverished individuals advertise various organs for sale.

The sellers say overwhelming debts and the threat of bankruptcy are what forced them to take drastic measures.

According to an in-depth study by Transplant International, the insufficient philanthropic supply of organs has led to a significant organ shortage, mounting transplant waiting lists, and many renal patients losing their lives throughout the world.

Unlike many other countries, the sale of kidneys is legal in Iran, albeit under regulated transactions.

However, numerous messages found on Telegram point to a thriving online black market, with individuals offering not just kidneys but also organs such as livers, bone marrow, and even testicles.

These ads appear on multiple Telegram channels, sharing a standardised format that includes the organ for sale, the donor’s gender and blood type, the proposed price, location, and a brief medical history overview.

Transplant International’s report into the grim organ trade revealed most kidney donors are male, around 31 years old, and are “willing to accept almost $12,400 (A$18,670)” for their kidney.

One shockingly explicit listing of a man selling his testicles underscores the dire circumstances facing the nation’s poorest people. The seller, aged 25, expressed willingness to part with either testicle, emphasising his desperation to overcome his debt.

Another listing offered testicles for sale, with the seller willing to travel to nearby cities for the transplantation surgery at the right price.

Dr. Gabriel Danovitch, an expert in Nephrology and Renal Transplantation at UCLA, expressed his disbelief that corneas would be taken from living individuals.

“You don’t take corneas from living people, I can’t believe you would do that,” he said in a recent report by Business Insider.

Nevertheless, sellers and donors regularly bypass the authorised process, opting for potentially more lucrative underground deals, as indicated by a 2022 study in the journal Transplant International.

Selling kidneys outside of Iran or to non-Iranians within the country is illegal and tantamount to organ trafficking.

Reports from Iran International indicate that desperate Iranians are travelling to neighbouring countries such as Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey to sell their kidneys or other body parts, often facilitated by intermediaries.

It remains unclear from the Telegram messages whether these listings, primarily in Farsi, target international buyers or solely Iranians.

According to Karmel Melamed, an Iranian-American journalist, the circumvention of official channels to sell kidneys or other organs is not a new occurrence in Iran. However, what has changed is the apparent prevalence of these practices, attributed to the deteriorating economic situation.

Melamed asserts that corruption and hyperinflation caused by the Ayatollah regime have exacerbated Iran’s economic woes, resulting in a surge of individuals resorting to organ sales as a means of survival.

“The only difference between the situation today and in the past is that the economic situation is worse today in Iran because of the rampant corruption and hyperinflation caused by the Ayatollah regime there,” Melamed said.

Iran currently faces one of the world’s highest inflation rates, with projections of impending hyperinflation. The economy has been severely impacted by factors such as Covid-19, international sanctions, and internal corruption.

The most vulnerable segments of the population bear the brunt of these hardships, with the cost of essential food items increasing by over 50 per cent since mid-2022.

Iran is not alone in its gruelling battle against inflation. In recent months, Argentina has risen to become the world’s third most inflated country behind Zimbabwe and Venezuela, and is facing similar struggles with poverty amid skyrocketing food prices.

The global inflation crisis is affecting developing countries to a point where governments are forced to take emergency measures to combat what has now become a life-or-death scenario for millions.

By comparison, the United States maintains an inflation rate below 5 per cent, and its central bank has raised key interest rates by five percentage points over a span of 14 months.

Read related topics:Pauline Hanson

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