Police in Pakistan said Friday they had busted an organ-trafficking ring when a missing 14-year-old boy was found in an underground laboratory after having his kidney removed.

The ring was responsible for luring young, vulnerable victims with promises of gainful work and large payouts before removing their organs – mainly kidneys – to sell for up to 900,000 rupees ($4,000).

“It was only after we followed up on evidence and clues that we discovered that an organ-trafficking operation was behind the boy’s disappearance,” Rehan Anjum, a spokesman for the Punjab police, told AFP on Friday.

Six people were arrested.

“The boy told us that when he woke up, there was an Arab lying next to him on a stretcher, so we believe most of the customers were foreigners,” Anjum said.

The victims of the gang were taken to a medical laboratory used for clandestine organ transplant operations in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.

Facilities for such clandestine operations in Pakistan often lack adequate medical equipment and standards, and patients have been known to die from complications as a result.

“I’m just thankful that the police found him alive, otherwise they would have left him dead,” the boy’s father told AFP in Lahore, where the boy went missing.

Police said the doctors and surgeons involved in the operation have not been traced.

Pakistan banned the commercial trade in human organs in 2010, imposing prison terms of up to 10 years and fines in the hope of stopping the sale of organs to wealthy foreign clients by middlemen through exploitation.

According to A Analysis of 2020 published by the National Library of Medicine, approximately 10% of all organ transplants in the world are considered illegal – about 12,000 organs per year. The analysis called organ trafficking “a global problem with health and human rights implications for millions of people, particularly those in vulnerable situations such as migrants.”

The illegal trade in human organs generates approximately $1.5 billion annually from approximately 12,000 illegal transplants, according to the 2017 report from Global Financial Integrity.

More than 100,000 people in the United States while waiting for an organ transplant. But only slightly more than half of them plan to receive an organ within five years.


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