Nepalese village Hokse located 12 miles to the east of Kathmandu is now world known as ‘Kidney Valley’ or ‘Kidney Village’. The place got its name due to the fact that almost every adult living in Hokse has sold a kidney in terms of the illegal organ trade thriving southern India.
The body parts traffickers, so called ‘organ brokers’, regularly visit Hokse and surrounding villages persuading men and women living there to get operated on in southern India, where organ trade is a big business.
As a rule they take advantage of people’s naivety and plainness to make them ‘donors’ of vital organs. “For ten years people came to our village trying to convince us to sell our kidneys but I always said no,” says Geeta, 37, a mother of four children. “My sister-in-law talked me into selling my kidney and said that my body only needed one,” she continues.
Geeta and her husband finally sold their kidneys because they had to buy a new bigger house for their growing family. “I have always wanted my own house and a piece of land, and with more children, I really needed it,” woman explaines. Convinced by her sister-in-law, Geeta went to India and had one of her kidneys removed. The surgery took just half an hour, however she stayed in hospital for three weeks. “When I woke up after the operation, I felt like nothing had happened and I was surprised that it was already done. I was then paid 200,000 Nepalese rupees for my kidney and went home to my village to buy my own house and some land,’ says Geeta, describing many Nepalese people’s dream of having their own home.
One part of Geeta’s money went on buying a plot of land in Hokse and the rest was spent on building a stone house. However, the Nepal earthquake of April 2015 destroyed it completely. “My sister stole my kidney and the earthquake stole my house,” sums up the poor woman.
Another brokers’ insane trick is to tell villagers that the body part will grow back!
Some ‘donors’ are duped into believing they have some disease that demands a kidney removal as a treatment. And some people are operated on even without knowing that. Also, there are cases when organ traders kidnap their victims and force to give up organs, or even kill for two kidneys.
Since the earthquake that killed 8,800 and injured at least 23,000 people in Nepal, the number of desperate for money has increased. So the booming trade now turnes the country into a ‘kidney bank’, despite the fact that in 2007 the Nepalese government passed a law banning kidney sale.
According to the Global Financial Integrity, up to 7,000 kidneys are obtained illegally every year and the illegal organ trade generates profits of up to $1000 million a year. At the same time, some kidney donors are reportedly being paid as little as $250 by brokers, who then charge the recipient more than $10,000.