Nearly 11,000 organs were bought on the black market in 2010, a sign that the illegal organ trade is booming, according to the World Health Organization.
There were nearly 107,000 organ transplants in 2010 – just 10 percent of the global need – and WHO officials and medical experts estimate 10 percent of those transplants were done with organs acquired on the black market, the Guardian reports.
"It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle," said a WHO official who monitors the illicit trade of organs. "The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there."
'It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle.'
- World Health Organization official
The Guardian contacted an organ broker in China who advertised his services under the slogan, "Donate a kidney, buy the new iPad!" He offered £2,500 for a kidney and said the operation could be performed within 10 days.
According to the paper, many patients go to China, India or Pakistan for the surgery, paying up to $200,000 for a kidney to gangs who harvest organs from people for as little as $5,000.
Proof of illegal trafficking is being collected by networks of doctors in various countries known as "custodian groups," the Guardian reports. The groups are working to support the Declaration of Istanbul, the 2008 statement against global organ exploitation honored by almost 100 nations.