Triumph of the free market

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Apr 4 15:45:01 MDT 2001

>At first I belived this to be an April hoax, but on the BBC website there is
>a report as well:
>"Unable to feed their families, Moldovans are prepared to go to extreme
>lengths to find better-paid work overseas, leaving many villages almost
>In February, BBC News Online reported the plight of Moldovans who sell their
>body parts for cash after the World Health Organisation warned that the
>practice had become an industry in Moldova.

Johannes, I've been in java class this week so it hasn't been easy for me
to keep up with discussions, but after you posted this,  I wondered if I
had been suckered, especially since the item appeared on the wild and wacky
Trotsky newsgroup. But I double-checked just now in Lexis-Nexis using
Moldova as a search field. This is what turned up:

The Independent (London), April 2, 2001, Monday


By James Palmer

MEAT SEIZED in Moldova was human flesh, tests yesterday have revealed.

Two women were selling the meat outside a butcher's shop in the capital,
Chisinau. They were arrested for selling outlawed meat but officials were
uncertain, until the tests, that it was human.

A customer reported the women to police on Friday after buying the meat,
which they were selling by the bag, interior ministry officials said. The
women told police that they acquired the meat from a state cancer clinic in
Chisinau, and the authorities immediately launched an investigation.

Police said they did not want to make an official statement on the arrest
of the women because they did not want to create public revulsion and panic.

Last month, World Health Organisation officials warned that the practice of
selling kidneys and other body parts for cash has become an industry in
Moldova. Extreme poverty is tempting more and more Moldovans to sell their
organs to so-called "recruiters" acting for agents in western Europe,
Turkey and Israel.

Official figures show that Moldova, a former Soviet Republic, is the
poorest country in Europe, with an average monthly salary of just $ 30
(pounds 21). Its economy is based on agriculture, which has recently
suffered several blows. The Russian financial crisis of 1998 caused
traditional markets for Moldovan produce to collapse. Many of the 4.5
million inhabitants, especially in rural areas, are paid in crops.

A series of droughts left farmers struggling to maintain production in
recent years and freezing temperatures towards the end of 2000 ruined crops
and led to power shortages, bringing chaos to towns and villages in central
and northern Moldova. The country's main exports are foodstuffs, animal and
vegetable products and textiles.

Louis Proyect
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