By Chua Ee Teng, TIME
Published: 18 Mar 2019 - 07:20 AM
A crowd of nameless faces
The SOCHUM will be discussing the issues of “Illegal Organ Trade” and “Rights of the LGBT Community”, both of which are extremely concerning as, despite the various attempts to deal with these issues, both continue to impact lives and rights worldwide.
The debate over the LGBT community is one which hits especially close to home because much has been done to allow for greater equality in rights and treatment for the LGBT community in America. The Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed by former President Obama in 2009 provided much more protection for the LGBT community and similarly, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 provided more equality for gay men and lesbians, allowing them to serve in the military.
Despite what has been done to allow for greater equality in rights and treatment for the LGBT community in America, President Donald Trump has undone much of those efforts since the start of his term, notably through his recent ban on transgendered persons serving in the military. The ban reverses over 70 years of work put into military integration and has sparked outrage from citizens nationwide, on the basis that “Trans rights are human rights”.
As shown by the above examples, while there has been a rise in the acknowledgment and the fight for equality and rights of the LGBT community worldwide in recent years, the community still faces discrimination and violence, especially in countries following the British Colonial Penal Code, Sharia Law, or those with Conservative Christianity.
As the LGBT community faces increasing physical and mental threats, it is crucial that a resolution is reached in the debate of this issue. In recent years, the community is in more risk than ever, even with the increased awareness, as hate crimes and mass murders have become increasingly common with the weak gun control in America.
The issue of illegal organ trade affects many worldwide greatly as well, despite its effects not being as prominent. Efforts to stop illegal organ trading include a ban on both the domestic and international sale of transplant organs, excluding Iran, and the implementation of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in 1968 which prohibits any forms of organ trafficking for profits.
Despite these efforts, in 2013, it was reported that 28,954 people received an organ for transplantation in America while only 14,257 organ donations were recorded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This proves that despite the many laws put into place, the illegal organ trade continues to thrive, as there is no proper enforcement of laws. This is seen in America where the country, with the exception of some states, did not include organ trafficking as a form of human trafficking while adopting national laws on human trafficking.
Another major factor that contributes to the increase of the illegal organ trade is poverty in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) like India and Pakistan. Many living in poverty would be more tempted to sell off their organs for money, but due to the unlawful nature of the transplants, the parties involved in the transplant surgeries would not receive proper medical care and would thus be more susceptible to illness and inflammation, leading to an exceptionally high death rate.
Even though some may be voluntarily participating in illegal organ trade, there are those who do not have a say and may be coerced or kidnapped and forced to participate. Illegal organ trade is unacceptable and something must be done about it, making it essential for the SOCHUM to reach a resolution in the debate of illegal organ trades.