Another heinous practice is the exploitation of the poor in non-industrialized countries, who are offered a paltry sum to donate a kidney to a wealthy recipient. Even though the exchange of organs for money is illegal (except in Iran), the World Health Organization estimated in 2009 that one fifth of the 70,000 kidney transplants worldwide that year came from organ trafficking.
The exploitation of the poor for the benefit of the wealthy is problematic in and of itself. Certainly the amount of money the poor donor receives pales in comparison to what is charged as the organ is passed along from the trafficker to a major medical center. Additionally, because donating a kidney involves major surgery, complications can occur. Unfortunately, for many of these impoverished donors, follow up care is minimal, and the traffickers are long gone when it comes to paying for any long-term complications.