Girl smuggled into Britain to have her ‘organs harvested’
The first case of a child being trafficked to Britain in order to have their organs harvested has been uncovered.
Child protection charities warned last night that criminal gangs were attempting to exploit the demand for organ transplants in Britain.
Bharti Patel, the chief executive of Ecpat UK, the child protection charity, said: “Traffickers are exploiting the demand for organs and the vulnerability of children. It’s unlikely that a trafficker is going to take this risk and bring just one child into the UK. It is likely there was a group.”
A Somali girl has become the first child victim reported to be smuggled into Britain for organ harvesting. Picture: Supplied. Source: ThinkStock
According to the World Health Organisation as many as 7,000 kidneys are illegally obtained by traffickers each year around the world.
While there is a black market for organs such as hearts, lungs and livers, kidneys are the most sought after organs because one can be removed from a patient without any ill effects.
The process involves a number of people including the recruiter who identifies the victim, the person who arranges their transport, the medical professionals who perform the operation and the salesman who trades the organ.
The government’s report also found that there has been a rise in the number of adults trafficked to the UK, with the number of women rising by 12 per cent to 786 and the number of men by almost a third to 400. They include growing numbers of British men are being exploited for “paving or ground works” in this country or abroad.
Details of the scale of human trafficking in Britain were published as the government announced plans to give modern day slave drivers a maximum sentence.
Under the proposals, offenders who already have a conviction for a serious sexual or violent offence will receive an automatic life sentence. The current maximum custodial sentence for trafficking is 14 years.
James Brokenshire, crime and security minister, said: “Modern slavery is an appalling evil in our midst.”
“All this is a good start, but we need everyone to play a part – government, law enforcement, business, charities – if we are to consign slavery to the history books where it belongs.”
The Bill, which will be published this year in draft form for pre-legislative scrutiny, will pull together into a single act the offences used to prosecute slave drivers.
It will also introduce Trafficking Prevention Orders to restrict the activity and movement of convicted traffickers and stop them from committing further offences