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Title: Weighing the cost of life in body parts : a socio-legal analysis of the organ trade
Author: Columb, Séan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 8116
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis critically examines how the organ trade fits into the anti-trafficking framework, its link to organised crime and the wider political economy. The organ trade involves diverse actors and consists of various practices, including organ trafficking, transplant tourism, organ sales and organ harvesting. Nevertheless, the organ trade is predominantly defined in terms of organ trafficking and discursively framed as a law enforcement issue. Although organ trafficking is considered a major international concern, it is not representative of the phenomenon as a whole. Evidence based research, including empirical work carried out by the author, indicates that the organ trade is better characterised by organ sales and transplant tourism. The majority of individuals who are compelled to sell an organ, for various reasons, do not conform to the elements of trafficking outlined in anti-trafficking legislation, broadly defined under Art 3(a) of the United Nations (2000) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. This means that as a consequence of a worldwide prohibition of organ sales, organ sellers are more likely to be prosecuted for committing a criminal offence than recognised and/or assisted as trafficked victims. The core aim of this thesis is to provide a critique of the anti-trafficking framework, explicating the theoretical and practical implications of the prevailing law enforcement model, in response to the organ trade. I argue that co-opting the organ trade into the meta-narrative of human trafficking suspends a wider critique of the phenomenon, linking the emergence of a global market in organs to broader socio-economic conditions and inequalities. Further, I argue that the organ trade is not a direct consequence of a global shortage of organ supplies; rather, it is causally related to the transfer of transplant capabilities to the global South. The rhetorical positioning of the organ trade as an object of law enforcement diverts critical attention away from the transplant industry and the
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available