(source, from Flickr user Faraz_Designer)
One more way in which the recession affects human rights. From William Saletan:
Will the global recession push more people to sell their organs? Apparently, the answer is yes. … You don’t normally think of selling your body’s parts or products. But bad times can make you think hard. One reason you might not have thought of selling something from your body is that the idea felt unnatural or somehow made you uncomfortable. But for $5,000, with bills to pay and no other income prospects, you decide you can get over those feelings.
In an older post I mentioned some of the negative effects of the current economic recession on human rights. One of the human rights likely to be effected is the right not to suffer poverty. The recession will cause an increase in poverty (see here and here), and people will be forced to use extreme tactics to counter this problem, especially if they can’t benefit from a social safety net. Not only can they decide to sell their organs (this would still be called a “donation”); they may also be tempted to participate in risky medical tests, rent their skin for commercial tattoo’s, sell their body for sex, become a surrogate mother etc.
What to do about it? Again William Saletan:
What’s driving the market is scarcity. Americans, Britons, Israelis, Japanese, and South Koreans are going abroad for organs mostly because too few of their countrymen have agreed to donate organs when they die. Some have religious objections. Others are squeamish. Many figure that if they don’t supply the organs, somebody else will.
They’re right. Somebody else will supply the organs. But that somebody won’t be a corpse. He’ll be a fisherman or an out-of-work laborer who needs cash and can’t find another way to get it. The middlemen will open him up, take his kidney, pay him a fraction of the proceeds, and abandon him, because follow-up care is just another expense. If he recovers well enough to keep working, he’ll be lucky.
The surest way to stop him from selling his kidney is to make it worthless, by flooding the market with free organs. If you haven’t filled out a donor card, do it now. Because if the dying can’t get organs from the dead, they’ll buy them from the living.