UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- An international agreement is needed to prevent organ trafficking, protect victims and prosecute offenders, a U.N. study released Tuesday reported.
The study, conducted jointly by the United Nations and the Council of Europe, also called for the prohibition of financial gain from a human body or its parts to be the foundation for legislation on organ transplants, the United Nations said in a news release.
Model legislation also would encourage organ donation, with preference given to organ, tissue and cell donations from the deceased.
Trafficking in organs, tissues and cells should be distinguished from human trafficking for the removal of organs, which the report said was a small part of the bigger problem.
The report noted the possibility of a high number of unreported cases of both crimes, because of low risks and huge payoffs, the United Nations said. Trafficking in organs, tissues and cells usually is in the form of "transplant tourism," with recipients, usually from wealthier countries, traveling to acquire organs in countries where measures to prevent the crime or protect live donors are either non-existent or not implemented, the organization said.
Among other things, the report called for the collection of reliable data on trafficking in organs, tissues and cells and in human beings for organ harvesting, separated by sex to assess if the problem impacts women and men differently.