Israel passed the Organ Transplant Act in 2008, which prohibits insurance companies from reimbursing transplants received in other countries that violate Israeli organ trade and trafficking guidelines. The law provides a punishment of three years’ imprisonment and a large fine for the purchase, sale, or brokerage of an organ, including outside of Israel.
Previously, insurance companies in Israel have fully reimbursed patients for transplantation operations performed anywhere in the world, regardless of the origin of donor organs or legality under local laws. In the three years after the law took effect, travel of Israeli patients to China for organ transplantation stopped completely, and there was a significant increase in the number of domestic organ donations and registered donors.
- Israel Organ Transplant Act 2008
- Lavee, Jacob, et al. “Preliminary marked increase in the national organ donation rate in Israel following implementation of a new organ transplantation law.” American Journal of Transplantation 13.3 (2013): 780-785. Available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajt.12001/full
A 2010 amendment to the Criminal Code included Article 156 bis, which imposes new penalties for participants of organ trafficking:
- Those who promote, facilitate or advertise the procurement or illegal trafficking of human organs or their transplantation, shall be punished with imprisonment from six to twelve years in case of vital organs, and imprisonment for three to six years in case of non-vital organs.
- Recipients consenting to receive a transplant knowing its illicit origin shall be liable to the same penalties as in the previous section, which may be lowered by one or two degrees attending to the circumstances of the crime and of the offender.
- When in accordance with the provisions laid down in Article 31 bis, a legal person is responsible for the offenses covered by this article, he shall pay a fine of three to five times the profit made.
The Italian Senate approved a bill on March 4, 2015 to introduce penalties against individuals who trades or sells illegally trafficked organs. Those who are found guilty of facilitating transactions involving organs from living people will face 3 to 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine between 50,000 and 300,000 euros. Doctors who promote or facilitate illegal organ tourism would face lifetime disqualification.
The bill aims to prevent Italians from traveling to China to receive organ transplants from illegal sources. Senator Maurizio Romani, who proposed the bill, said, “we have the duty to make any effort in order not to be accomplices to this,” referring to the sourcing of organs from prisoners of conscience, “especially practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong.”
- Cassano, Vincenzo. 2015. “Italy Censures China Organ Harvest With Senate Bill.” Epoch Times, 8 March 2015. http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1276265-italy-censures-china-organ-harvest-with-senate-bill/print/
- Original text in Italian
The Human Organ Transplantation Act of 2015 bans the sale, purchase, and brokerage of organs. It also prohibits the use of organs from executed prisoners and organ tourism, regardless of foreign laws. For transplants performed abroad, the law requires hospitals in Taiwan to document the country, hospital, and source of the donor organ.
In addition to fines, the law imposes imprisonment of 1 to 5 years for those involved in brokering organs or organ tourism. Doctors who engage in organ brokerage will have their licenses revoked.
Norway updated its transplant law in 2017 to adopt the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs.
In addition to clarifying that one of the purposes of the transplant law is to prevent and combat trafficking in human organs, the change imposes increased penalties for violators to prison terms of up to 2 years, or up to 6 years for gross crimes.
The law applies to anyone who “makes use of, buys, preserves, stores, transports, transfers, receives, imports or exports organs that have been illicitly removed.”
The Belgian Federal Parliament passed a bill on April 25, 2019, which imposes sanctions on all parties involved in commercial organ transactions.
The new law extends to organ crimes that take place outside of Belgium and applies to anyone who participates in the transaction, including medical personnel and others who recruit donors or recipients for this purpose. The same sanctions apply to patients who receive an illegal organ transplant. Furthermore, if a violation is committed by an organized criminal group, all members of the group can be punished under the law.
Penalties include 5-10 years of imprisonment a fine of 750-75,000 euros, though they can be increased to 15-20 years in prison and a fine of 1,000-150,000 euros if the victim of organ harvesting dies as a result.
The bill is the first to refer to the European Parliament resolution passed in 2013 and Written Declaration in 2016 that “asked the Member States to inform their inhabitants about practices of organ harvesting in China and to prosecute those who participated in these unethical practices.”