Italians donate always more organs: in 2016 were recorded 1,596 donors against the 1,489 the previous year. It is true, however, that the lack of organs with respect to the number of transplants needed (the 10% on a million every year) remains a world’s problem that causes the tragic phenomenon of trafficking in human organs and the transplant tourism. In 2008, with the Declaration of Istanbul, trafficking in organs was defined as “recruitment, transportation, transfer, receiving (…) of living or dead persons or of one of their organs” through the use of force or deception. Precisely for this reason, even Italy took action with the law n. 236 entered into force last 7 January. The art. 601-bis that punishes the trafficking in human organs taken from a living person, was in fact inserted in the Criminal Code, also targeting those who organize or advertise related travel or who disseminate, also electronically, notices in order to obtain organs.
Donors and patients
The theme of the forced removal of organs from living persons, was at the centre of the international summit held in the Vatican, which was attended by the representatives of 20 countries among which for the first time China, known for the explant of organs from people condemned to death. Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on this occasion pointed out that trafficking in human organs and transplant tourism are “crimes against humanity”. There are two categories of victims: donors and patients. On the one hand, there are those who live in situations of extreme poverty, therefore more vulnerable, but also all those patients “willing to pay large amounts of money and to travel to other countries as transplant tourists, in order to obtain an organ which will allow them to live”. In the middle, there are brokers and unscrupulous health operators who treat organs, and the people from which they explant them, as objects of exchange, goods to buy or to sell using also “unauthorized clinics that clandestinely assist transplant tourists”. Dr. Emanuele Cozzi, director of the Unit of Immunology of transplantation of the University Hospital of Padua, as well as representative of Italy in Istanbul and participant at the meeting held in the Vatican, has been consulted on the Italian situation and on the alleged traffic developed with the flow of refugees also through our borders: “In Italy – he explained – there are no data on this: many migrants arriving in Italy are visited and on fifteen thousand people we did not have reports of cases of forced explant of organs”.
Organ transplantation, shared topic
The Vatican Summit concluded with 11 recommendations to governments, international organizations and to the religious leaders, to provide the resources needed to increase organ donation throughout the world. The transplantation of organs is a topic on which the big religions agree. Even the Islamic Code of Medical Ethics encourages donations. “If it is true that the living people may donate an organ of their body, even the dead, a fortiori, can do it. This is actually a great gesture of charity and responds perfectly to the will of God”. The Rabbi of Mantua, Luciano Caro, declared that “life is a gift of God. We are not the absolute masters of our own body. In front of the need to save a human life, all religious prohibitions become secondary”. For Christians, finally, Jesus who offers himself is the example of gratuitousness for who makes a donation, “manifestation of generous solidarity even more eloquent in a utilitarian society”, like Pope John Paul II said during the First International Congress on transplants in 1991.
Taken from “Sempre”