FACT-CHECK: Did The UN Issue Alert On Organ Trafficking As Viral Photo Claims?

Claim: A photograph making the rounds on the social media exhibits an organ trafficking alert purportedly issued by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime division (UNODC) urging readers to watch out for brokers/corporations providing them jobs overseas.

Verdict: No, this alert did not originate from the UNODC; it is solely mimicry of one other publication on the division’s web site.

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Organ trafficking, below the broader spectrum of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, has remained an enormous drawback the United Nations, different worldwide our bodies and governments of varied international locations search to deal with.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplies the only real internationally accepted definition of trafficking in individuals.

Article 3(a) of the protocol stipulates that “Trafficking in Persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

“Exploitation shall include at a minimum the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of human organs.”

It has been recognized that migrants in search of greener pastures in different international locations however wouldn’t have the choice emigrate legally type the vast majority of those that fall sufferer to those organ harvesters. “Some victims are tricked or coerced into having their organs removed,” UNODC says.

Several programmes have been organised to curb the unfold of this menace by educating the individuals on the necessity for a authorized migration course of. These programmes are dealt with by organizations such because the International Organization for Migration amongst others.

Trafficking in individuals for the aim of organ elimination will not be a brand new phenomenon. Over the years, the crime has acquired important consideration from media, NGOs, academia and in addition from worldwide and regional actors.

These embrace the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in individuals, particularly in ladies and youngsters, Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Being and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Also, in 2013, the UN Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly adopted resolutions that inter alia request UNODC to gather and analyse info on trafficking in individuals for organ elimination and encourage Member States to offer to UNODC evidence-based knowledge on patterns, types and flows of trafficking in individuals, together with for the aim of the elimination of organs respectively.

It has, nonetheless, remained a persistent drawback, therefore the main target.

The worldwide (transplant) neighborhood has developed requirements and tips to manipulate transplantation, to manage look after donors and thereby forestall organ-related crimes, together with trafficking in individuals for the aim of organ elimination. Of specific relevance are the WHO Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation, in addition to the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism.

Particularly in Nigeria, the institution of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on 14 July 2013 exhibits a concerted effort to place a cease to trafficking and consequently organ trafficking.

The photograph (pictured beneath) has been circulated on social media as an organ trafficking alert from the UNODC establishing the actual fact that there’s a black marketplace for human physique elements.

FACT-CHECK: Did The UN Issue Alert On Organ Trafficking As Viral Photo Claims? 2

The alert highlighted essentially the most helpful organs and listed the price of each in {dollars}.

According to the alert, a kidney is alleged to price $262,000 (N107,813,000); a coronary heart goes for $119,000 (N48,968,500) and a liver $157,000 (N64,605,500).

This had been shared on some web sites and throughout social media platforms.

According to a worldwide report from 2020, whereas nonetheless detected in small numbers, trafficking for the aim of organ elimination was reported in North Africa, South and South-East Asia, Central America and Europe in the course of the reporting interval. It indicated that in 2017, about 25 victims had been reported, and in 2018, this quantity had risen to greater than 40.

Meanwhile, females had been a lot of the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, and two-thirds of the victims had been trafficked for compelled labour. Most of the lads had been trafficked for organ elimination.


A hyperlink on the alert was entered and it introduced out an error end result. It is, nonetheless, noticed that it’s mimicry of an archived hyperlink from UNODC.

While the feedback on the photograph highlighted the costs of human organs within the black market noting that it’s on the rise within the Middle East, the archived hyperlink from the UNODC states that determined conditions of recipients and donors of human organs create an avenue for exploitation by worldwide organ trafficking syndicated.

It additionally acknowledged that victims of those crimes might be weak by advantage of poverty.

Dubawa additionally noticed that the alert has beforehand been flagged by the AFP fact-check which acknowledged that UNODC Pakistan had confirmed that the purported alert is faux.

AFP quoted the regional department of the UNODC as saying that the message “doesn’t originate from UNODC and incorporates out-of-date info that isn’t associated to present UNODC actions”.


The photograph didn’t originate from the United Nations because the physique is but to offer a warning a few black marketplace for human organs within the Middle East. Although there are efforts to curb the menace of organ trafficking by the group, the Middle East was not one of many continents highlighted in previous experiences concerning this. Also, the UNODC is but to offer a value for every very important human half.


The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari fellowship in partnership with SaharaReporters to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and improve media literacy within the nation.

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FACT-CHECK: Did The UN Issue Alert On Organ Trafficking As Viral Photo Claims?

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