chapter  16
Globalism and postsocialist prospects
ByDon Kalb
Pages 18

Valeru Galit is a police detective in Chisinau, Moldavia. In 2000 he traced a network of kidney-dealers who brought some hundred young Moldavians, mainly young men in their twenties, to Istanbul where, in a defunct textile factory that had been converted into a clinic, they were deprived of one kidney. Their kidneys were implanted in children flown in from the West, whose kidneys did not function well and whose parents were wealthy enough to circumvent the waiting lists of European public hospitals and pay $15,000 to save their children’s lives. The young Moldavian boys received $3,000 in cash, the equivalent of more than ten years’ back-breaking work in local agriculture. Some weeks prior to the Moldavian elections, in which the ex-communists won a majority of seats in the parliament, Galit tells the journalist of the Dutch daily which published this story: ‘Our babies are sold to Western parents, our girls work in your brothels, our boys sell their kidneys. That is the free market. We are meat’ (NRC Handelsblad, 9 April 2001). The same newspaper reports a survey in Russia in which 20 per cent of adult female respondents stated that they would seriously consider offering their bodies for commercial sex services if they were asked to do so.