45 MINUTES • 1998 • 4:3



• Co-production with •
Lichtpunt (VRT, Belgium)

• With the participation of •
SVT (Sweden)

• Also aired by •
NRK (Norway)
DR (Denmark)
Odyssιe (France)
VARA (Netherlands)

• Co-funded by •

‘I will sell a kidney. I do not see any other way out of my misery', says Mastan. As a knife-sharpener he makes about one dollar a day.

In India there are 80.000 cases of kidney failure every year, most needing immediate transplants. In 1995 the Indian government passed a law prohibiting commercial trans-plants and organ donations from anyone other than relatives. Instead of helping the situation, the law dangerously reduced the number of possible donors.

The nine years before this law came into effect, Dr. Reddy's team conducted 1.000 paid unrelated kidney transplants. They dealt with the donors in a different way than was usually the case. They bypassed the brokers, a fair amount was paid directly to the donor, the donor got free medical care for three years following the operation.



Furthermore donors were selected not only on medical but also on psychological grounds. Due to the enforcement of the new law, Dr. Reddy and his team had to stop their work. The kidney trade in India is as thriving as before, though nowadays declared illegal and therefore uncontrollable.

Selvam and his wife Rani both sold their kidney through Dr. Reddy. We see how the sale of their kidneys changed their lives. Ali Basha and Noorjahan sold theirs after the law came into effect and thus committed a criminal act. Kidney broker Rahim arranged everything for them. Rahim: 'I am only helping. A kidney patient comes and asks for help. It is not against the law, because the donors have problems they contact me and sell their kidneys.'

Dr. Reddy: ’Is it wrong to donate a kidney for money?'


Director & Producer
Mark Aardenburg
Camera Onno van der Wal
Sound Gusta van Eijk
Patrick Janssens

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