Human trafficking for the purposes of organ removal: UNODC regional consultation addresses
one of the least known but growing forms of trafficking worldwide
– 10 August 2022 - Trafficking in Persons for the purpose of organ removal (TIP for OR) is a form of trafficking in which an individual is exploited for their organ, including by coercion, deception and abuse of a position of vulnerability. TIP for OR is a serious crime which demeans human dignity and the value of human life by exploiting vulnerable persons for the financial gain of the traffickers. UNODC flagship 2020 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons
indicated an increasing prevalence of reported cases of TIP for OR, although existing barriers to reporting suggest that the full scale of this phenomenon is not yet known.
For several years, UNODC has been delivering technical and legislative assistance to support criminal justice responses to TIP for organ removal as part of its role as guardian of the UN TIP Protocol and mandate to support Member States in its implementation. In recent years, in the framework of GLO.ACT
, UNODC commenced the development of a Toolkit on the Investigation and Prosecution of TIP for OR, which is now in its final draft stage. The toolkit consists of a manual, a virtual reality video tool and interview protocols. It has been created for criminal justice practitioners who play a crucial role in addressing TIP for OR.
The regional consultation was an excellent opportunity to present and consult with a broader range of stakeholders from the Southeast Asian region, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam while bringing into the transregional dialogue GLO.ACT partner countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Participants were invited to provide feedback on the best ways to tailor this practical tool to the regional context and how to utilize it domestically. The consultation was also designed to facilitate partnership building among governments, and national and international transplant experts, to enable stronger cooperation in preventing TIP for OR in South and Southeast Asia.
Under the guidance of Rebecca Miller, UNODC Regional Coordinator for TIP and SOM and Aimee Comrie, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, the first day included thematic sessions and panel discussions to determine the scale of TIP for OR in the South and Southeast Asia region. It also focused on fostering a better understanding of the new methods used by trafficking networks regarding TIP for OR. On the second day, Ms Comrie and Sylwia Gawronska, UNODC Regional Programme Advisor, presented UNODC toolkit, followed by an extensive group discussion on gaps and solutions to strengthen existing mechanisms to detect and investigate TIP for OR in Asia. An interactive discussion on good practices in preventing and disrupting TIP for OR was followed by Gilad Erlich, Public Prosecutor, Israel, Benita Padilla, member of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG)
, and Efstratios Chatzixiros, WHO expert providing insights into multisectoral experiences on ths issue. The consultation concluded with a presentation on the inclusion of a healthcare perspective in the fight against TIP and the Smuggling of Migrants by Ilir Boci, GLO.ACT Project Management Assistant.
The Toolkit on the Investigation and Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons for Organ Removal will officially be launched in New York in October 2022. Thereafter, the Toolkit will be made available online.
The regional consultation was jointly organized by UNODC ROSEAP with financial support from Norway and the EU-funded GLO.ACT project.