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May 8, 2010

H.O.T- tough questions about Organ trafficking.

by Annabelle Butterworth

Today’s film, shown in association with Brightwide, whose slogan ‘Watch Think Link Act’ echos LIDF’s commitment to filmmaking for social change, is a paradigm  for both party’s belief that film, through bringing about awareness, has the power to alter society.

Human Organ Traffic asks a number of questions for which there are no simple answers: ‘If it was a question of life or death for you or a loved one, would you be willing to pay to attain an organ illegally?’, ‘should organ donation in living donors be made legal everywhere, even if the donors are most likely doing it as a result of extreme poverty and desperation?’

In an attempt to shed more light on these questions the director of H.O.T sought to document the experiences of the donors, from Brazil to Nepal, all of whom are deeply impoverished.
We also meet the middle agents who take a cash cut from the operation by putting the potential patients in touch with the right people.
The experiences were as varied as they were fascinating. From donors who felt it was worth doing on account of the large sum of money they received, to others who were conned out of any money at all, to the truly shocking disclosure that 95% of all organ donations in China are from executed prisoners, of which the money paid for them goes to the government.
Organ trafficking, it seems, is big business, and the only ones who appear to loose out in this global trade are the donors.

The enlightening panel after the film gave us an insight into the mind of a surgeon, who performs hundreds of transplants a year, and the director of the National Kidney Foundation, both of whom tackled the debates surrounding the ‘Opt- Out’ donation scheme being proposed by the government, and the severe complications, including the death of the donors, that these illegal operations can cause.

H.O.T is a call to arms for all those who get to watch this great documentary, but I’m yet still unsure what side is best to join.

Posted in: Blog, Highlights

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