Trafficking for Organ Removal

It is important to recognize the distinction between organ trade, and human trafficking for the purpose of removal of organs: 
offences relating to trade in organs are concerned with unregulated and unsupervised trade in organs - regardless of the circumstances of the transaction. The crime of human trafficking for organ removal, meanwhile, is concerned with the violation of human dignity and liberty. The perpetrators treat a person's body as a depository of replaceable machinery parts. They see the person as an object, whose sole purpose is to bear the organs that may be harvested and sold.
the criminal offense prohibiting human trafficking for organ removal appears in article 377a(a)(1) of the Israeli Penal Code. The offence prohibits the sale or purchase of a person, or any other transaction relating to a person by others, for the purpose of removing organs or risk thereof. In such cases, the consent of the victim is irrelevant.
Cases of human trafficking for organ removal may include:
  • exploiting victims from vulnerable populations such as the oppressed, poor, unemployed, and mentally disabled.
  • paying little or nothing for organs.
  • deceiving victims of the type of the procedure and its side effects.
  • burdening victims with accumulated debt for food, shelter, clothing, medical examinations, and transportation to the location of the procedure.
  • using force or threats.
  • not providing proper medical care following the procedure.
  • restricting the freedom of movement of victims to areas controlled by the criminals.
  • not allowing a victim to withdraw from the transaction.
  • causing detrimental physical and emotional effects on the victims (such as humiliation and self-loathing). 


A compilation of factors listed above may indicate human trafficking for organ removal.

Very few cases of human trafficking for organ removal have occurred in Israel, with only one criminal conviction. This conviction is - to the best of our knowledge - precedent-setting both in Israel and internationally. It is discussed in detail here.
An in-depth discussion of Israel's efforts in preventing and prosecuting trade in organs may be found in The State of Israel's Efforts to Counter Trafficking for Organ Removal.