Six people have been arrested in Pakistan on charges related to an organ-trafficking ring, after local police said they found a missing teen boy in an underground lab with one of his kidneys removed.
Young, vulnerable persons were duped by the suspects with promises of lucrative jobs into having their organs removed, primarily kidneys, to be sold for around $4,000, according to police reports cited in Agence France-Presse.
“It was only after we followed the evidence and leads that we discovered that there was an organ-trafficking operation behind the boy’s disappearance,” Rehan Anjum, a spokesman for Punjab police, told AFP.
None of the doctors or surgeons affiliated with the organ harvesting scheme have been located, police told the French wire service.
The clandestine organ removals were done in a medical testing lab in Rawalpindi, near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
These facilities typically neither have proper medical equipment nor adhere to health standards, and patients sometimes die from complications associated with the procedure.
“The boy told us that when he woke up there was an Arab man on the stretcher next to him, so we think that most of the clients were foreigners,” Mr. Anjum told the AFP.
The 14-year-old boy’s father told the French outlet that “I’m just grateful that the police found him alive, otherwise they had left him for dead.”
Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade in human organs in 2010, and perpetrators can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.