[Marxism] Benefits of Freedom under Capitalism: Sell Your Organs or Starve

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Sat May 22 11:41:49 MDT 2004


Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope

Published: May 23, 2004

John Maier for The New York Times
Alberty José da Silva of Recife, Brazil, bears a scar from giving up a 
kidney for $6,000.

A Global Black Market

ECIFE, Brazil — When Alberty José da Silva heard he could make money, 
lots of money, by selling his kidney, it seemed to him the opportunity 
of a lifetime. For a desperately ill 48-year-old woman in Brooklyn whose 
doctors had told her to get a kidney any way she could, it was.

At 38, Mr. da Silva, one of 23 children of a prostitute, only 13 of whom 
survived to adulthood, lives in a slum near the airport here, in a 
flimsy two-room shack he shares with a sister and nine other people.

"As a child, I can remember seven of us sharing a single egg, or living 
for day after day on just a bit of manioc meal with salt," Mr. da Silva 
said in an interview.

He recalled his mother as a woman who "sold her flesh" to survive. Last 
year he decided that he would, too. Now, a long scar across his side 
marks the place where a kidney and a rib were removed in exchange for 
$6,000, paid by middlemen in an international organ trafficking ring.

Among poor men like Mr. da Silva and others who have migrated to slums 
here from Brazil's parched northeastern backlands, word of the market to 
sell their organs spread quickly.

Some who had done so were buying houses, businesses, cars, televisions 
and refrigerators. Though they received minimal medical care, they told 
neighbors there was no risk. Brokers were scouring the local markets and 
streets for more volunteers.

The sums being offered seemed a fortune. The minimum wage here is barely 
$80 a month, and work is hard to find. Many men struggle to exist on odd 
jobs that pay barely a dollar a day. Initially, the organ brokers paid 
as much as $10,000 for a kidney — more than a decade's wages.

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