It's an urban legend no more. The Washington Post reports that a stolen kidney-for-transplant racket was been broken up in India. To wit:
Three weeks ago, Mohammad Saleem, 33, agreed to work at a construction site in this bustling city near New Delhi. A house painter with an extended family of eight, he was drawn here by the promise of an extra dollar in his daily wage. After a few days of waiting in a blue-and-white bungalow for work to begin, Saleem said, he was forcibly anesthetized by two masked men.
"When I woke up after several hours, I felt a pain in my right side," Saleem recalled, sitting on a metal cot in a city hospital ward. "The men said, 'We have removed your kidney, and you better not breathe a word about it.' My life broke into pieces when I heard that."
I told you so. If legal organ markets with enforceable contracts are not permitted then organ bootlegging is inevitable. To wit:
Until medical science comes up with new ways to ease the growing shortage of transplantable organs, making the current voluntary black market into a white market with legally enforceable contracts could well forestall the development of an involuntary black market in organs. That would be win/win for us all.
Whole Post article here.
Addendum: For a nice take on how organ bootlegging might work, check out the superb 2002 movie "Dirty Pretty Things."