Concern grows over organ trade

Worldwide media attention focused recently on the trade in human organ trafficking allegedly taking place in the city of Nampula in Mozambique. Concerns were raised after it was alleged that between 50 and 100 children had been reported missing since 2003, and that some of the children have been found dead, with their bodies missing vital organs.

“Several countries are involved in this immoral game. The victims are the poor, those who have neither the voice nor the strength to defend themselves,” a nun, known as Sister Juliana, told Portuguese radio station, Rádio Renascença, recently. Local authorities in Mozambique claim to have found no evidence that links the murders and disappearances to the human organ trade. Despite the lack of evidence, Sister Juliana says she is convinced that Nampula is part of an international ring.

Now, Bishop Jaime Gonçalves has appealed to the Portuguese government to intervene and to alert the European Union to the existence of the alleged network. “Do whatever you can, but please release us from this evil,” he pleaded on the radio station. The Portuguese Lawyers Commission has already responded to his plea, expressing complete solidarity and confirming that their members would be willing to assist in the investigations.

The European Parliament has also become involved in trying to end the trade in human organs. At a meeting held recently to discuss the situation in Mozambique, Portuguese MEP, José Ribeiro de Castro, said that the Portuguese and Spanish public are growing ever more concerned about the issue. He revealed to colleagues that Spanish Catholic nuns in Mozambique are constantly threatened and that a Brazilian nun was murdered shortly after she exposed an alleged organ trafficking network. “We can no longer ignore this situation,” Castro commented. Portuguese European Union representative, Carlos Lage, is also eager to stop the trade in organs and has appealed to Nampula Câmara to investigate the accusations: “We cannot accept this,” he said. Lage has requested that the President of the European Parliament, Ireland’s Pat Cox, write a letter to Mozambique’s President, Joaquim Chissano, “to express the European Parliament’s concern about this tragic situation.”