Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the second reading debate on Bill S-204, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), which came to us on May 10, after having passed in the other place.
This important bill proposes to protect vulnerable persons who have organs extracted through exploitation of their vulnerabilities by creating new Criminal Code offences targeting organ trafficking-related conduct that would apply extra-territorially, including a financial transaction offence that would criminalize transplant tourism, a practice that involves purchasing organs abroad, usually in under-resourced countries; and amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to make foreign nationals or permanent residents of Canada who engage in conduct that would constitute an offence under one of the bill's proposed organ trafficking offences be inadmissible to Canada for having violated human or international rights.
International research indicates that traffickers may coerce vulnerable victims into giving up an organ and that organ donors often come from less wealthy nations. That is why organ trafficking affects certain populations disproportionately. Patients from wealthy countries travel abroad to obtain organs from donors in impoverished countries who may suffer from desperate poverty and may feel the need to sell their organs out of financial desperation.
Donors may also be deceived by traffickers into trading their organs for money that may not be paid at the end of the surgery. This exploitation of extreme poverty in certain parts of the world, for example in North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central America, drives organ trafficking.
In addition to the abuses I have just noted, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that “In cases of trafficking in persons for organ removal, victims may be recruited through deception, [and may not be] fully informed as to the nature of the procedure, the recovery and the impact—”