Vatican City, Feb 9, 2017 / 03:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a conference on organ trafficking at the Vatican Feb. 7-8, participants signed a statement agreeing to unite in fighting the crime of organ trafficking – submitting 11 proposals for implementation by healthcare and law enforcement professionals around the world.
The creation of the statement was one of the main objectives of the Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Participants in the summit included nearly 80 doctors, law enforcement officials and representatives of health and non-government organizations from around the world, who gave reports on the issue and how it is currently being combated in their respective countries.
“…we the undersigned pledge our commitment to combat these illicit and immoral practices as a community of stakeholders fulfilling the directive of Pope Francis to combat human trafficking and organ trafficking in all their condemnable forms,” the statement, published Feb. 9, reads.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only about 10 percent – or 120,000 – of the estimated 1 million organ transplants needed are performed each year. This data was presented to Pope Francis in 2014, and is an example of the demand for organs creating, in large part, the drive for illegal trafficking.
In general, migrants, refugees and the poor are among the most vulnerable populations for organ trafficking, because they may be forced to sell organs if they do not have the cash to pay when soliciting help for transportation by people-smugglers to more stable countries.
Mons. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission, was a participant in the summit. He told CNA/EWTN News in email comments that he “was impressed by the determination” of those present at the summit “to work together to eliminate this terrible crime.”