Scheper-Hughes, Nancy “Biopiracy and the Global Quest for Human Organs” NACLA Report on the Americas 39(5): p14-21 (2006) EBS COHOST (accessed Apr 19, 2015)

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This image was taken from the “Biopiracy and the Global Quest for Human Organs” article and it illustrates a mothers pain after her son was killed by Death Squads in Rio de Janeiro. I choose this picture because it highlights how women in Brazil fear the risk of organ theft in public hospitals and mortuaries.


Through the article the author sheds a light on the horrors of the international marketing of human organs and tissues. The author focuses on the issue of body piracy and organ theft, which has been an uncontrollable problem within Brazil since the mid-1980s. Nancy Scheper-Hughes captures the black Market of organ piracy within the orientation of North and South America, she also describes the supply and demand of organs throughout the world. The author projects her message by illustrating cases in which organs are removed unwillingly from the living and the dead. The author provides testimony of a father named Paolo whose ten year old son’s organs were removed before he was declared brain dead. Scheper-Hughes also emphasized the small amount of money given to poor willing organ donors. She depicted an example of a business man who bought Achilles tendons for 200 dollars and then sold the tendons internationally for about 1,200 dollars. Essentially Scheper-Hughes brings to light the topic of organ theft which is perceived as a major cultural taboo. She paints the pain, fear, and guilt many of these families contain. Many families feel guilty not knowing whether their loved ones were truly dead or became victims of organ trafficking. Scheper-Hughes describes the pain and loss many families endure during their journey towards justice for their loved ones. The author’s main purpose is to recognize the vulnerable and disadvantaged bodies that were taken unwillingly without consent. Her ultimate question is whether organ trafficking will be embraced as part of society and hidden or whether it will be recognized as another form of human exploitation.

This article provides important information on the issue of organ trafficking. The author presents the major issues by highlighting the experiences of families that have lost loved ones within the inhumane industry. The author critiques the ignorance of many countries that are buyers of organs. The author also criticizes the wealthy in taking advantage of the poor by misleading them into false information. The research provided through the article has had contributions from the authors own project names Organ Watch which discovered a huge business in human tissues. This corporation was taking tissues from families without their consent and in some cases taking donated tissues and selling it for more money.

This article is important because it highlights a major issue that many of us are blinded from. Many parts of the world ignore the issue or fail to recognize it as a violation. The article gives readers important knowledge on the complex industry of organ transplants and the origin of each organ. Overall the article is an essential example of the defective political and justice system within South America and the world. This article gives an insight on another extensive issue that is still unrecognized as a violation of human rights.

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