Blood farming in India

Imagine being strapped up to a bed against your will, captive in sheds on farmland nearby the India-Nepal border with your blood being drained from your body. You’re too weak to protest or put up a fight and all of this is for the purpose of cash.

Blood farming is a growing health and human rights issue that is very common in India. This practice is highly illegal and revolves around human beings being treated like dairy cattle on an industrial farm. These individuals though however, instead of milk, are drained of their blood cruelly. It is then sold on the black market and is used for a wide range of medical purposes. Blood farming is just one of the variables of the international black market that sells fluids and tissues from the human body. According to a study in 2013, organ trafficking is a big profitable business making between $600 million and $1.2 billion in total annually.

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Individuals of this cruel phenomenon are usually immigrants or people from other populated areas. Blood farmers imprison their victims, usually they will secure them with chains and padlocks when they are off the clock. An investigative journalist named Scott Carney described one of these farms as   “a medical ward fit for a horror movie.” People have been forced to give their blood 3 times a week over the span of 2 and a half years, but it is said by The Red Cross donors should only give their blood once every 8 to 12 weeks.

This horrendous business mostly takes place in India. India has a population of 1.2 million people and they need 12 million units of blood, but only collect 9 million annually. In 2008, 17 people were rescued from one of these farms in a town called Gorakhpur which is close to the border of India. All of these victims were immigrants who were lured into the house and convinced to sell their blood for $7 per unit. After a while, they were too weak to resist or put up a fight and when they tried to escape they were beaten and locked up. These people were never paid their money and this blood was sold to local hospitals and blood banks for $18, which is 15 times the government rate. These people were treated exactly like on a dairy farm, they were caged up, not given enough food, and their blood was taken 16 times a month.

Private hospitals charge up to $65 per unit of blood. For millions of Indians, safe clean blood is simply unaffordable for them. Until the Indian government establishes a nationwide system where volunteers can give blood safely and comfortably with good testing facilities, it is unlikely that this business will ever end.

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