Amidst the pandemic lockdown, when villagers are struggling for income due to poverty, micro-finance loan debts and the promise of easy money have pushed villagers to sell their kidneys. A big human organ trafficking racket from a village in Dakhin Dharamtul, that persuaded villagers in debt to sell their kidneys has been busted in Assam. Three people have been arrested, in the case linked to Assam’s Dharamtul village where at least a dozen villagers have sold their kidneys to organ traffickers.
Sumanta Das, 37, is a mason, who was out of work since lockdown said he needed money for the treatment of his son who needed a heart operation so in desperate need of money, sold his kidney. He was promised ₹ 5 lakh but got only a fraction – ₹ 1.5 lakh. With a kidney less, now he can’t do hard labor anymore to earn a living. Women too have fallen prey to organ traffickers. Krishna Das, whose husband is differently-abled, had loans to repay said, “I don’t have other means of income. I had taken a micro-finance loan from Bandhan of Rs 70,000. We also owed to the village moneylender, so we were left with no option. They promised me Rs 4.5 lakh, but got Rs 1 lakh less.”
These are merely just a few of the cases. Taking advantage of their poverty and persuading them to give their organs as a source of easy money, these traffickers have been doing this illegal trade for about 5 years now. People go to Kolkata, sell off their kidneys, and get paid less. Morigaon Superintendent of Police Aparna Natarajan said, “As per the preliminary investigation, we have got some donors who sold kidneys. Now we are tracking the middlemen and the recipients as well. “