Caveat Donor

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in The Atlantic:

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 29 05.55 In a country where 300 million people live on less than a dollar a day, Amit Kumar—nicknamed “Dr. Horror” by the Indian media after his arrest last winter for heading an illicit global kidney-transplant ring—had little trouble finding homegrown organ donors. One favorite hunting ground was a strip of restaurants, shops, and hovels near an Islamic shrine, or dargah, in Mahim, a predominantly Muslim precinct of Mumbai. Devotees of the dargah, which attracts people of all faiths, donate money to restaurants to help feed the beggars who cluster there. Last June, walking past one such restaurant whose kitchen extends to the sidewalk, I saw a dozen or so men huddled within scorching distance of giant cauldrons in which meat and potatoes simmered. Expressions glazed and clothing in tatters, the men watched, motionless and silent, their patience unwavering. I felt as if I were looking at a still photo.

Kumar, who’s now on trial, has told officials that he sent his agents to offer such men anywhere from $500 to $2,500 for a kidney. Elsewhere, in the fast-growing towns of states like Haryāna and Uttar Pradesh, Kumar’s ring also went after newly arrived migrant workers seeking jobs.

More here.