More countries should legislate to curb transplant tourism

In a detailed article in The Epoch Times, Joan Delaney says legislation to curb transplant tourists receiving illicit organs can have a big impact.

The article says that China’s organ transplant industry grew exponentially in the early 2000s and claims it is the go-to country for transplant tourists from around the world.

Despite the fact that organ donation is minimal in China, says the article, organs are plentiful, and the wait-times range between a few days and two months.

The article highlights a report by Organs Watch, an organisation based at the University of California, which identified transplant tourists from Canada as among the top organ-buyers in the world. It also references “Killing to Live: The Dark Side of Transplant Tourism in China,” a 2017 documentary aired by Korea’s Chosen TV, which reveals that an estimated 3,000 Koreans a year have received organs in China since 2000.

The articles says that Canadian international human rights lawyer David Matas and former cabinet minister David Kilgour released two investigative reports, one in 2006 and one in 2016, showing that non-consenting religious and political prisoners in China —primarily Falun Dafa adherents detained for their beliefs—are being subjected to forced organ harvesting while alive.

Knowledge of this industry in China has in recent years prompted several countries including Israel, Spain, Taiwan and Italy to pass legislation aimed at preventing their citizens from travelling abroad for transplants.

The article says similar legislation is currently making its way through the House of Commons. Bill S-240, which passed unanimously in the Senate last October, would make it a criminal offence in Canada to receive an organ abroad without consent from the donor, and it would also make people involved in forced organ harvesting anywhere in the world inadmissible to Canada.

Speaking to Canada’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development last month, David Matas said such legislation can be very effective, adding that the effect in Taiwan and Israel had been dramatic.