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Bangladesh - Health - October 13, 2021

A dark world of kidney trafficking thru’ internet

25 to 30 members’ syndicate active

Golam Mostafa Jibon: A furious syndicate of kidney sellers and traffickers is now active in the country, which is running brisk business of kidney selling and traffickingin neighboring country India illegally deceiving the eyes of the concerned law enforcers.
At least 25 to 30 people including women are the active members of the syndicate, who are carrying their illicit activities through social media including facebook, Imo and whatsapp from different places including hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers by dividing in three groups.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) recently arrested five of them, who have already amassed huge amount of money after taking hundreds of people in India and selling their kidneys alluring them to provide money.
According to the RAB, the syndicate members almost fraud with the kidney providers. Though, they used to realize at least Tk 15 lakh to Tk 20 lakh from the kidney receiver for transplantation of each kidney, they used to pay highest Tk 2 lakh to Tk 2.5 lakh to the donor or provider. Most of the donors were hired form the North Bengal especially from Rangpur, Dinajpur, Kurigram, Joypurhat, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Gaibandha district as those area is known as Monga prone.
RAB in a drive conducted from mid night of Monday to the morning of Tuesday picked up the five persons from Joypurhat district and Narda area of the capital.
The arrested were identified as Shahriar Imran Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan, Saiful Islam, Abdul Mannan and Tazul Islam alias Tazu. During the drive, RAB also seized four passports, visa related papers, cell phones and foreign currencies.
Khandaker Al-Moin, Director of RAB’s Law and Media wing said, “Most of the people of the country especially people of Monga prone Northern region have been leading poverty stricken life due to poor income during the corona pandemic. Taking the advantage, the syndicate members allure them to transplant kidney in exchange of money. Many poor and ultra poor people are lending their legs into their traps for want of money. Workers, employees and physicians of a good number of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers in the capital are also working as the members of the kidney selling syndicate.
The RAB officer said, the first group of the cycle is based in Dhaka and connects with affluent patients who need kidney transplantation through social media.
The second group targets poor people in remote areas of the country according to the needs of the first group and takes advantage of their economic vulnerability and brings them to Dhaka by tempting them to become donors for kidney transplantation in exchange for big sum of money.

The third group carries clinical activities including blood matching and other tests with the kidney donors at various diagnostic centers in Dhaka. Once the suitability of the kidney transplant is confirmed by blood matching and other diagnostic tests, the cycle members prepare the donor to send him or her to the neighboring country after processing passport, visa and forging documents.
According to the RAB, another group based in the neighboring country receives kidney donors at airports or land ports in mutual connivance. After the completion of all the activities including hospital documentation and surgery, the victims are sent back to the country in legal or illegal means by air or through the border areas of the North East region.
Referring to the interrogation of the detainees, RAB said that, the detainees had confessed to embezzling large sums of money. They used to charge patients at Tk 15 lakh to Tk 20 lakh against each of the kidney transplantation. After the kidney transplantation, the kidney donors were often intimidated by not paying the promised money.
RAB said, the ringleader Imran used to receive Tk 5 to Tk 10 lakh for each of the kidney transplantation, while his associate Mannan and Tajul used to receive Tk3 lakh toTk5 lakh for supplying a kidney donor.
In order to escape from the hands of the law enforcers, the cycle would refrain from providing any kind of receipt, passport or other proof to the aggrieved donor.
According to the agreement, the victims were kept silent without paying all the money and showing fear.
RAB said, Imran is the admin of two pages on Facebook called ‘Bangladesh Kidney and Liver Patient Medical Service’ and ‘Kidney Liver Medical Service’. So far, he has trafficked more than a hundred people to neighboring countries to sell kidneys.
The briefing said that, among the arrested, Abdul Mannan used to lure the kidney donors into this immoral act by showing them the money. Earlier, he was arrested by the law enforcement agencies for this crime. There are more than six cases against him under the Human Organ Transplantation Act. Tajul Islam alias Taju used to work as an associate of Mannan. There are several cases against him.
RAB further said, the other two accused, Saiful Islam and Mehedi Hasan, used to forge passports, medical visas and other documents required to take the fraudulent kidney donors to India.
During interrogation, he has already confessed that he used to take Tk 10,000 to Tk 20,000against per person for this work.
The arrested further informed that, two workers of Labaid Diagnostic Center at Merul Badda in the capital are also active members of the cycle. They are identified as Jannatul Ferdous Jannat, daughter of Mokbul Hossain, resident at Satgara village in Rangpur district and Atika Afrin Basunia, daughter of Saidur Rahman Basunia, resident at Choraishala in Nilphamari. Of them, Jannat is currently servicing as receptionist at the Labaid Diagnostic Center in Merul Badda and Atika is servicing as Technician (X-ray and others) of the same institution.
The both used to bring poor and ultra-poor people to Dhaka from northern region alluring to provide them big sum of money, if they donate kidney to the critical patients. Later, they used to hand over the victims to the syndicate members in exchange of money.
Khandaker Al-Moin said, “Thus the ring had been running a horrific kidney buying-selling tradebetween Bangladesh and the neighboring country India in the name of helping critical patients affected with kidney disease.”
“RAB’s drive would be continued,” he added.

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