Members' Research Service By / September 9, 2018

Victims of organ trafficking [What Europe does for you]

How would you feel about being forced into donating an organ, such as a kidney or lung, your liver, heart, or pancreas? Did you know that every day somewhere in the world, a person is lured into the illicit organ trade?

© Photographee.eu / Fotolia

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for victims of organ trafficking.


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How would you feel about being forced into donating an organ, such as a kidney or lung, your liver, heart, or pancreas? Did you know that every day somewhere in the world, a person is lured into the illicit organ trade? The World Health Organization estimates that about 10 000 organs are sold on the black market each year, some of which come from trafficked persons.

As a criminal activity, no exact data exists as to how many people are trafficked for the removal of their organs in the EU. However, it is estimated that between 2013 and 2014, 12 % of trafficked persons in the EU were exploited for purposes that include, among others, organ removal.

Image of despair crime victim on police station
© Photographee.eu / Fotolia

Victims of human trafficking are at the centre of EU anti-trafficking policy. In 2011, the EU adopted a law on preventing and combating trafficking in persons and protecting its victims, which covers trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. It obliges EU countries to provide help, support and protect victims.

Between 2012 and 2015, the EU financed a project to raise awareness about trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal and to improve enforcement of this crime.

Victims of trafficking and their counsel can find information about their rights in the EU which range from (emergency) assistance and healthcare to labour rights, access to justice and a lawyer, and compensation, available in all EU official languages.

Further information


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