Future Bodies. Preventing organ trafficking – focusing on consequences and alternatives to organ shortage. A “Health in Transition” Theme Project 2014 — 2016

Today’s society is facing a series of new challenges. With the aging of populations and growth in diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, demand for transplantation is increasing exponentially. One such challenge is how to deal with the shortage of donor organs. Another is that the human body is now, more than ever, a valuable resource and with organs’ increased value come their potential profitability, fuelling desire with people to trade, traffic and sell.

This project has as its main objective to investigate these serious medical and social problems. We focus on how the global shortage of cells, tissues and organs for use in transplants, leads to the growth of illegal methods to meet the demand for body parts such as the trade in organs.

Based on existing empirical data collected by our team – to be supplemented by more detailed data collection in South Africa including our investigation regarding a unique legal case with an organ syndicate in Durban – we intend to create a model for:

  • Increasing knowledge about trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal
  • Raising awareness (among judicial authorities and police forces, transplant professionals, international organizations, human rights organizations)
  • Improve the non-legislative response by writing indicators and recommendations
Project leader(s):
  • Susanne Lundin (Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden)
  • Annika Tibell (Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
STIAS fellow(s):
  • Marianne Kristiansson (Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
  • Elmi Muller (UCT Private Academic Hospital, University of Cape Town)

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