Sri Lanka is seen as a hot spot for organ trafficking, according to a report published in the New York Times which uncovered attempts by people in the Middle East to purchase kidney’s in Sri Lanka.
The report said that one lady, identified as Ophira Dorin from Israel was directed to Sri Lanka to purchase a kidney by Avigad Sandler, a former insurance agent long suspected of being involved in trafficking.
Sandler had told Dorin that he was sending clients to Sri Lanka for $200,000 in cash. Her co-workers staged a fund-raiser, and her parents mortgaged their house to cover the rest.
When Dorin’s mother went to convert her shekels into dollars, the money-changer told her that his uncle had received a kidney in Sri Lanka for far less. He offered to arrange an introduction.
The uncle’s broker, Boris Volfman, requested $10,000 down and told Dorin she would have to take the remaining $140,000 to Sri Lanka. He suggested she change her dollars into 500-euro notes to keep the wad thin, she said.
The next day however the Israel Police arrested Volfman, along with Sandler and others, on suspicions of organ trafficking unrelated to Dorin’s case, the New York Times report said.
The New York Times also reported that in 2012, an 83-year-old Texas car dealer, John W. Wiesner, paid $330,000 to Sandler to arrange a transplant in Sri Lanka, Israeli court documents show.
In an email that April, Sandler told Wiesner he was being charged extra “due to the high risk” posed by his age, which would have disqualified him at most American hospitals. Wiesner did not have his own donor.
“If the details are acceptable, please wire $40,000 USD to the following bank account,” Mr. Sandler instructed.
Wiesner’s trip to Sri Lanka was pre-empted by Sandler’s arrest the next month. The Israel Police found $150,000 of Wiesner’s money and returned it, according to court filings. He then sued Sandler and others to recover the rest. The case was settled in March for $66,000, court records show. Wiesner and his lawyers declined to comment.
Experts list China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics as hot spots for organ trafficking. But illicit transplants usually go undetected unless there is a surgical mistake or a payment dispute. Prosecutions are thwarted by false affidavits, toothless laws and lack of international cooperation, particularly regarding extradition.