Organ trafficking report calls for compassion, not commerce

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended that more be done to deter organ trafficking in Australia and internationally.

The inquiry’s final report, entitled Compassion, Not Commerce: An inquiry into human organ trafficking and organ transplant tourism makes twelve recommendations as to how protections against this practice can be strengthened.

Chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, The Hon Kevin Andrews MP, said while organ transplantation is one of the miracles of medical science giving hope to hundreds of thousands of people, the demand for donor organs continues to outstrip supply.

“Unfortunately, this has enabled an illicit commercial market of organ trafficking and transplant tourism to flourish in some overseas destinations,” Mr Andrews said.

“This practice gives hope to the desperate but comes with serious medical risk both for the donor and the organ reciprocates and often exploits the poorest and most vulnerable in communities.”

Tabling the report in the House of Representatives, Mr Andrews said if Australia is to be effective in combatting this trade then “the Australian Government needs to pursue a range of measures to strengthen Australia’s involvement in international efforts to combat human organ trafficking, improve relevant data collection, support public health education programs, strengthen Australia’s legal prohibitions on organ trafficking, and thoroughly investigate reforms that would enhance Australia’s domestic organ donation program.”

The report also includes a case study on the controversial “Real Bodies” commercial anatomical exhibition which toured Australia during the course of the inquiry. It recommends that to protect the human rights of deceased persons and their families, only organs or human tissue that have the proper documentation recording donor consent should be approved for importation into Australia.

/Public Release.