The Hague Recommendations: Improving Nonlegislative Responses to Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Organ Removal

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Over the years, the trade in human organs has become an object of international concern. Since the 1980s, antiorgan trade initiatives have mainly involved the strengthening of legislative responses. Little attention however is given to nonlegislative responses by law enforcement authorities. The HOTT project is a European Union-funded research project titled “trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal.” Its objectives are to increase knowledge, raise awareness, and improve the nonlegislative response to the crime. Its consortium organized a “Writers' Conference” in The Hague, The Netherlands at Europol's Headquarters where a group of 40 experts, consisting of transplant professionals, law enforcement officials, and policy makers, formulated recommendations to improve nonlegislative responses. These recommendations, presented hereafter, address the ethical and legal obligations of health care providers, the protection of persons trafficked for the purpose of organ removal, strengthening cross-border collaboration in criminal cases, and stimulating partnerships between transplant professionals and law enforcement. These recommendations offer ways in which transplant professionals can contribute to improving the nonlegislative response to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal.

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