Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Red Market by Scott Carney

"On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers"

Who wouldn't want to read a book with a subtitle like this?

According to Wikipedia...

White market = legal goods in a legal market
Gray market = legal goods in an unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended market
Black market = illegal goods

According to Scott Carney...
Red Market = The secret and lucrative trade in human bodies and body parts

Carney is a freelance investigative journalist who studied how things like kidneys, blood, bones, and even human eggs are sold and traded throughout the world. Although a lot of his research focuses on India, where he lived for several years, Carney's research also takes him to places like Brazil, China, and Cyprus. And don't think his topics don't make it to the United States. Although illegal trade in body parts may not be a major issue here, we are definitely the recipient of such trade - whether it's in buying skeletons for medical schools, wigs for women, overseas kidney transplants, or childbirth services abroad.

Each chapter focuses on a different body topic. While I can't really describe any chapter as light-hearted, there are definitely some that are more disturbing than others. Is there really a village in India called Kidneyville because so many of its residents have donated their own for money? Are young children really kidnapped from their families only to be sold to orphanages that work with American organizations? Were vital organs from executed members of a Chinese spiritual group harvested for profit?

Carney addresses these and many other questions in a thought-provoking, eye-opening way. Somewhat morbid (and morbidly entertaining), this is a recommend from me.

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