Jordan has uncovered scores of cases in which human organs have been bought and sold illegally in recent months, with traffickers preying on poor people, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"A total of 81 cases of trafficking have been uncovered by the authorities over recent months," Momen Hadidi of the National Commission to Promote Organ Donation told the Jordan Times.
Several Jordanians were arrested in May for luring people into selling their kidneys to clients outside the country, he said.
"These people work on a commission basis and prey on poor people in order to convince them to sell their kidneys and then facilitate their travel to a third country where the operations are performed," Hadidi said.
"Most of the donors are between the ages of 20 and 40 years and are lured by the chance of making quick money," he said, adding that a kidney can sell for 3,000 dollars.
He described typical donors as poor, unemployed and unskilled.
Organ trafficking is banned in Jordan, with penalties of up to five years in prison and up to 20,000 dinars (28,000 dollars) in fines.
The health ministry created Hadidi's commission in May in a drive to crack down on illegal trafficking and also to encourage Jordanians to donate their organs after death.
"About 800 people die every year in Jordan in road accidents," Hadidi said. "We should be encouraging the relatives of these victims to donate the organs of their loved ones. This way we can begin to reduce the demand."