Did the UN Issue This Alert on Organ Trafficking In the Middle East?

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This tweet from July 8, 2021 shows an alert reportedly from the United Nations, giving a warning on a black market for human body organs in the Middle East. It lists the most valuable organs. According to this alert, a kidney is said to cost $262,000, a heart, $119,000, and a liver $157,000. (See screengrab below)

Background

According to the UNODC, a global report from 2020 shows that North Africa, followed by the Middle East has the highest share of detection of victims trafficked for the purpose of organ removal. During the reporting period, females comprised most of the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, and two-thirds of the victims trafficked for forced labour. Most of the men were trafficked for organ removal. 

Verification

First, we checked a link shared by this alert, and the results show that it is faulty. However, it mimics an archived link from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 

The difference between the two is; the former gives an alert of a black market for organ trafficking in the Middle East, giving prices of these organs. While the latter from, UNODC, acknowledges that there could be a desperate situation where human traffickers exploit organ donors solely for selfish gains. (See screengrab below).

A Twitter advanced search on all tweets shared by UNODC with the keywords, ‘Organ Trafficking’ and any tweets including, ‘human or trafficking or Middle East’ show that the latest tweet was shared on March 12, 2021. This was during the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto, Japan. 

One of the crimes discussed during this congress was organ trafficking, but far from what this alert claims. (See screengrab below)

This alert has previously been flagged by a number of credible fact-check organizations. One was published by Pesa Check on March 18, 2021. Additionally, in an email to the Ghana Fact, UNODC’s Chief of Advocacy disputed claims that this document originated from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Verdict

NO, the United Nations has not given a warning about a black market for human organs in the Middle East.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.