With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme
European Commission - Directorate General Home Affairs

Transplant Tourism


Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism

Transplant tourism, derived from the term 'medical tourism' is defined by the Declaration of Istanbul as "travel for transplantation that involves organ trafficking and/or transplant commercialism or if the resources (organs, professionals and transplant centers) devoted to providing transplants to patients from outside a country undermine the country’s ability to provide transplant services for its own population."


The condemnation of transplant tourism is a complex issue. Not all countries prohibit it. Moreover, in practice, transplant tourism is difficult to differentiate from travel for transplantation. Transplant tourism touches upon various complex legal issues including secrecy oath, duty of medical care, right to privacy and the privilege of non-disclosure.
The effect of these laws and regulations on patients returning from a transplant abroad, and their doctors, is not sufficiently addressed.
Transplant tourism, including its link to trafficking in human beings, forms an important part of this project.
Further reading
  • Ambagtsheer F, Zaitch D, Weimar W. The battle for human organs: Organ trafficking and transplant tourism in a global context. Global Crime. 2013;14(1):1-26.
  • Berglund S LS. ‘I had to leave’: Making Sense of Buying a Kidney Abroad. In: Gunnarson M., Svenaeus F, editors. The Body as a Gift, Resource, and Commodity: Exchanges Organs, Tissues and Cells in the 21st Century. Huddinge: Södertörn Studies in Practical Knowledge; 2012. p. 321–42
  • Ivanovski N, Masin J, Rambabova-Busljetic I, Pusevski V, Dohcev S, Ivanovski O, et al. The outcome of commercial kidney transplant tourism in Pakistan. Clin Transplant. 2011;25(1):171-3.
  • Gill J, Diec O, Landsberg DN, Rose C, Johnston O, Keown PA, et al. Opportunities to deter transplant tourism exist before referral for transplantation and during the workup and management of transplant candidates. Kidney Int. 2011;79(9):1026-31.
  • Scheper-Hughes N. Mr Tati's holiday and João's safari - seeing the world through transplant tourism. Body and Society. 2011;17(2-3):55-92.

International Symposium

21 November 2014

Europol, The Hague,The Netherlands

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