Human organs trafficking

In Parliament - Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (11:09:58): I also rise today to support the motion by the member for Taylor to refer the bill to a joint select committee of the house. On my understanding, the committee is intended to look at a possible prohibition of any resident of South Australia from receiving a human organ that has been unethically obtained. As we know, this is a practice that happens around the world, particularly in South-East Asia, and is of great concern to many of us on that moral dilemma.

The World Health Organisation collects data from about 95 member states on both legal and illegal sold human organ transplants. Recent WHO estimates suggest that within those 95 member countries approximately 107,000 sold organs are transplanted annually throughout the world. International health professionals associated with WHO estimate that up to 10 per cent of those organs are illegally obtained. Given this data, the real figure is likely to be higher as we know that many parts of the world do not participate in providing reasonable data. Similarly, world health organisations have conservatively estimated that the transplant tourism industry—that is travelling abroad to obtain an organ—makes up 5 per cent of the international organ transplant market.

To me it is clear from a number of the studies that the demand for human organs far outstrips supply. That is not surprising given the increasing burden of diseases such as diabetes which can contribute to renal failure. In that respect, estimates suggest that up to 70 per cent of transplanted organs are kidneys, and this is what we see in illegal trafficking of organs as well.

While ethically obtaining organs for transplant within our own community should be encouraged—and I encourage all members and all South Australians to be organ donors—it is also necessary to curb unethical demand for organs overall. The proposed select committee will look into this issue, especially within Asia and Africa and other parts of the world struggling to control the export of unethically obtained organs. I support the referral of the bill to a joint house committee and look forward to its findings and to see what we here in South Australia can do to curb this unethical practice.