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

Trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal

Trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal (THBOR) is one of the most coercive, exploitative forms of the human organ trade. It is prohibited worldwide, yet it occurs in countries across the globe.
This crime was first defined and prohibited by the:
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000)
Article 3 of the Protocol defines the crime as follows:
"Trafficking in human beings" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs [...]."
THBOR is also defined by the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Article 4).

Further reading
  • Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinatorfor Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (2013). Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Organ Removal. Analysis and Findings. Vienna: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Available here.
  • Budiani D, Columb S. A human rights approach to human trafficking for organ removal. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. 2013;Online Publication.
  • Schloenhardt A, Garbutt S. Trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal: International Law and Australian Practice. Criminal Law Journal. 2012;36(3):145-58.
  • National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings (2012). Human trafficking for the purpose of the removal of organs and forced commercial surrogacy. The Hague: BNRM. Available here.
  • Territo L, Matteson R. (2012). The International Trafficking of Human Organs - A multidisciplinary perspective. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Available here.
  • Aronowitz AA, Isitman E. Trafficking of Human Beings for the Purpose of Organ Removal: Are (International) Legal Instruments Effective Measures to Eradicate the Practice? Groningen Journal of International Law. 1 (2); 2013: 73-90. Online Publication.



International Symposium

21 November 2014

Europol, The Hague,The Netherlands

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