MUMBAI: ‘Nepal’s Organ Trail: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary’ highlights the brutal and exploitative organ trade in Nepal which sees the trafficking of impoverished and ignorant villagers as unwitting kidney donors. CNN International Correspondent Sumnima Udas investigates the plight of these trafficked victims who live with severe health complications and the threat of premature death looms large, pushing their impoverished families further into the cycle of poverty and exploitation.
“Organ trafficking is a barbaric trade that destroys the lives of not just an individual, but the entire family,” said Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for CNN International. “This was a story that needed to be told, and we are dedicating ourselves to highlight this inhuman practice so a change can be brought about.”
The documentary follows the organ trail which begins from the villages of the remote Kavre district in Nepal where villagers are trafficked on pretexts ranging from false job offers to promises of large sums of money for a ‘chunk’ of their body which they are told will ‘grow back’. At the other end of the trail, ailing and desperate patients await kidney transplants which could potentially save their lives. A perfect storm of poverty, desperation and loopholes in the government machinery allow traffickers to continue this exploitative cycle and make handsome profits at the cost of acute human suffering. The trafficked victims are left in a pitiable state. In the words of one victim, he is “just counting my days to die” while holding on to the hope that “the government will take care of my children.”
The half-hour documentary also highlights the efforts of government agencies, anti-trafficking organisations like The Forum For Protection Of People’s Rights and medical organisations to combat the trade. The Nepal government is issuing more stringent counter measures to prevent forgery of documents, hospitals are putting in place measures like DNA testing to prove the biological relationship between donors and recipients and anti-trafficking organisations are working hard to educate vulnerable villagers. While there is still a long journey ahead, activists express the hope that “if all the stakeholders contribute, this problem will be resolved.”