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Stopping the criminals

· International Vatican summit proposes ways to prevent organ trafficking ·

Participants at an international Vatican conference on trafficking have called on governments, health sector authorities, the judiciary, religious leaders and the public to implement a series of recommendations to stop these “illicit and immoral practices” as a community of stakeholders committed to Pope Francis’ desire to see an end to organ trafficking and the trafficking of human beings.

In a statement issued upon the conclusion of the 7-8 February Pontifical Academy of Sciences Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism, seventy-seven signatories called for the universal recognition of “human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal and organ trafficking, which include the use of organs from executed prisoners and payments to donors or the next of kin of deceased donors, as crimes that should be condemned worldwide and legally prosecuted at the national and international level”.

The delegates, who included leading health officials from international organ transplant institutions and hospitals, legal and ethics experts, and human rights advocates, also urged religious leaders to “encourage ethical organ donation and condemn human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal and organ trafficking”.

The statement furthermore calls on nations to “provide the resources to achieve self-sufficiency in organ donation at a national level—with regional cooperation as appropriate—by reducing the need for transplants through preventive measures and improving access to national transplant programs in an ethical and regulated manner”.

Moreover, governments are encouraged to establish a legal framework for the prevention and prosecution of transplant-related crimes, and for the protection of victims wherever the crime was perpetrated.

Among the recommendations, is the creation of national registries of organ procurement and transplants and the sharing of such data at an international level. The signatories also urge “responsible authorities, insurance providers, and charities” not to “cover the costs of transplant procedures that involve human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal or organ trafficking”.

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Oct. 20, 2017

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