The Red Market
On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers
By Scott Carney
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061936463, 272pp.)
Publication Date: June 2011
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An in-depth report that takes readers on a shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market
Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years on the ground tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body partsa vast hidden economy known as the "red market." From the horrifying to the ridiculous, he discovers its varied forms: an Indian village nicknamed "Kidneyvakkam" because most of its residents have sold their kidneys for cash; unscrupulous grave robbers who steal human bones from cemeteries, morgues, and funeral pyres for anatomical skeletons used in Western medical schools and labs; an ancient temple that makes money selling the hair of its devotees to wig makers in Americato the tune of $6 million annually.
The Red Market reveals the rise, fall, and resurgence of this multibillion-dollar underground trade through history, from early medical study and modern universities to poverty-ravaged Eurasian villages and high-tech Western labs; from body snatchers and surrogate mothers to skeleton dealers and the poor who sell body parts to survive. While local and international law enforcement have cracked down on the market, advances in science have increased the demand for human tissueligaments, kidneys, even rented space in women's wombsleaving little room to consider the ethical dilemmas inherent in the flesh-and-blood trade. At turns tragic, voyeuristic, and thought-provoking, The Red Market is an eye-opening, surreal look at a little-known global industry and its implications for all our lives.
Scott Carney is an investigative journalist with a decade of experience living and researching in India. He is a contributing editor at Wired magazine. His reporting has also appeared on NPR, CBC, BBC, and National Geographic TV, and in Mother Jones, Fast Company, Discover, and Foreign Policy. He lives in Long Beach, California.
“The Red Market is a thrilling adventure into the global body business, with keen insight into the economics that drive it. Scott Carney investigates both our insatiable need for replacement human parts and the uncanny and often disturbing ways we go about getting them.”
-Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
“The Red Market is an unforgettable nonfiction thriller, expertly reported. Scott Carney takes us on a tremendously revealing and twisted ride, where life and death are now mere cold cash commodities.”
-Michael Largo, author of Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die