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Crosscurrents

Unearthing Secrets of the Organ Trade

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Under CC license from Flickr user North Dakota National Guard
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More than 120,000 people in the United States are in line waiting for an organ transplant. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, another name is added to the list every ten minutes. While health professionals attempt to come to grips with the increasing demand for life-saving transplants, Nancy Scheper-Hughes has been investigating the dark consequences of this demand—the global black market in human organs—for more than two decades.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes has  conducted investigations in Turkey, shared information with the FBI, and spoken to living transplant donors from India to South Africa.  But Scheper-Hughes isn't an FBI agent, a police detective, or even an investigative journalist. She’s an anthropologist. Critics say she’s more activist than scientist, but others applaud her for bringing relevance to a discipline long known for sitting on the sidelines.  Nancy Scheper-Hughes sat down with Holly Kernan to discuss her investigation.

Click the audio player above to hear the entire interview. 

Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.