Where a Kidney is Sold To Pay Debt

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Where a Kidney is Sold To Pay Debt

Banepa, December 23 2014: Dr Faustus, the protagonist in Christopher Marlowe’s play – Dr Faustus – sold his soul to a devil Lucifer for 24 years, driven by his overreaching ambition of acquiring best of super-power. Later, he expresses remorse for the ‘stupidity’ of trading with his own soul.

Unlike Dr Faustus, destitute people here in Kaverpalanchowk district of Nepal, do not regret selling off their essential organ, kidney, as they think they are better off living without a kidney than living with ‘debt’.

Selling kidney for money is strictly illegal in Nepal. According to the Human Trafficking and Sale Prevention Act, 2064 BS, one who is proved to have been involved in the trading of kidney could be jailed for 10 years and charged from Rs 200,000 to Rs 500,000 as a fine.

The Act also has it that the victim is compensated with half the fine charged to the guilty.

Despite the Act and the Law that ban the trading of human organ, the illegal sale of the kidney continue to take its toll in Kaverpalanchowk district, especially among those suffering penury.

The record shows that people here have been trading one of their two kidneys since two decades. The district was recently dubbed as ‘Kidney Bank’ following the reportedly increasing cases of kidney-trading surfaced lately.

People can live with the one kidney essentially the same as those with two. Hence, the poor people are easily lured into this trade.

Locals explained that the ‘agents’ here first spot the people who are hard up for money or those debt-ridden and lure them into this illegal trade.

The ‘agents’ often find it easy with women to persuade and those who come to their terms are shown as their spouse in the paper.

They take them their ‘paper’ wives to Kathmandu for blood test and later to India where the trading takes place without any qualms.

Let us hear it from the ‘horse mouth’ itself.

Mina Bal (name changed), 35, from Methinkot of the district was debt-ridden resorted to the racket of kidney-trading as not only she was knee-deep into debt but also in dire strait to play a purveyor role to the two half orphan kids after her husband died in Malaysia two years ago.

“I sold it for Rs 375,000 in India during the mid of November,” shared Bal blatantly adding that there was no sufficient source of income to her as the crops grown in her fields also did not fetch her any income.

There is no trace of operation done in her stomach as a plastic surgery has been performed there to hide the scars.

Likewise, Prakash Timilsina, a local, informed that recently three youth from Phulbari in the district returned from India selling off their kidney for each Rs 200,000.

Timilsina added that the poor locals are attracted towards this trade as plastic surgery in the place from where the kidney is taken conceals the scars, leaving no trace to any potential legal hassle and police’s punitive action.

He also informed that a seven-member family of a Thakuri family in Hokse VDC-1 of the district migrated elsewhere after all the family members sold off their kidneys.

Kedar Neupane, the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Kavrepalanchowk district, was of the opinion that those who sold their own kidneys must have been involved in the racket of the kidney-trading.

Thus, the web of this racket could be easily breached, provided some out of those who sold their kidneys co-operate the authority concerned, added CDO Neupane.

Stating that an internal investigation on this issue is underway, CDO Neupane believed that the racket will someday come under the ambit of the police.

Earlier, around 108 people from Hokse and Jyamdi VDC were found to have been recorded selling off their kidneys. Later, some 112 people from Hokse, 102 from Paanchkhal, 56 from Jyamdi were found to have sold off their one kidneys.

As the ‘business’ continued spreading its wing across the district, a local humanitarian organization, People’s Right Protection (Janaadhikar Sanrakshyan Mancha (PPR), started the recording keeping of the people who sold their kidneys and have been monitoring their health condition.

The organization, in its preliminary monitoring, found out that some 300 people admitted to have sold their kidneys, according to Satish Sharma, the Direcotr of the organization.

Stakeholders believe that people from 10 VDC in the district are involved in selling off their kidney where the number of women seller is threefold higher.

The District Police Office, Kaverepalanchowk, arrested 10 people involved in the racket of kidney in April.  Seven of them were later jailed for further investigation in May.

Despite it, the racket of kidney trade continues.

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