Perhaps unsurprisingly, working in an anti-crime business means that we do have to delve into some of the nastier recesses of human activity – and organ trafficking is one of the nastiest of all. I have been including it in training for about the past year, on the basis that the more angry people are at the activities of criminals, and the more revolted they are by the thought that they themselves might unwittingly facilitate such activities by allowing the proceeds to move through the financial system, the more rigorous they will be in applying the AML controls.
When people talk of Frankenstein, they usually mean the creature – but Frankenstein was in fact the scientist who pieced together the monster from various bits. A modern group of such doctors has recently been found guilty of human trafficking and organised crime, through running the Medicus Clinic in Kosovo’s capital Pristina. In short, doctors at the clinic recruited poor people from across eastern Europe and central Asia by promising them €15,000 euro for one of their kidneys. Organ recipients, mainly from Israel, paid up to €100,000 euro to receive a transplant – resulting in a tidy profit for the clinic. The trade was uncovered when a Turkish organ donor was stopped by officers at Pristina airport, in visible pain after having one of his kidneys removed at the clinic.
Distasteful though the Medicus Clinic story is, however, do bear in mind that this is the most palatable end of the organ trade, in that the donors – albeit while miserably desperate for money – did volunteer to sell their organs. Many “donors” are not so lucky. And unless you are reasonably sure of where your clients’ money has come from, you have no choice but to entertain the possibility that it has come from any crime imaginable – including the trade in human organs.