top of page

Organ Trafficking 

Human Trafficking for Organ Removal (HTOR), or the illegal business of buying and selling organs, is a worldwide issue that violates human rights, exploits marginalized communities, and threatens homeland security. It is a highly lucrative criminal activity that is conducted through transnational organized crime and terror networks, but is rarely researched, detected, reported, or prosecuted. The United Nations added organ trafficking to its definition of human trafficking in 2010 under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children; however, in the United States, organ trafficking is not considered human trafficking under domestic law, resulting in very little research surrounding this issue and few serious efforts to reduce the practice. With Americans being the top recipients of trafficked organs, our policy aims to define organ trafficking as a form of “severe trafficking in persons,” making it equivalent to sex and labor trafficking. This change elevates organ trafficking to a more serious crime in the eyes of the law, spurring investment and investigation into this issue which allows law enforcement to properly address this distinct form of trafficking. 


  • In the US, the organ waitlist currently sits at over 114,000 and takes individuals on average 3-5 years to receive an organ donation and transplant which is a driver of illegal organ trafficking

  • It is estimated that about 7,500 people die annually in the U.S. alone waiting for an organ transplant, equating to 20 people everyday.

  • 10% of all global transplants come from illegally obtained organs 

  • Organ trafficking is often implicated in organized crime and terrorist activities, utilizing coercive tactics against marginalized communities to benefit wealthy organ recipients 

  • Organ trafficking lies at the intersection of human rights, foreign relations, national security, and economic issues  

bottom of page