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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Monday, July 11, 2005

Blood is Treasure

This ghoulish story comes from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Jobless Ahmed said he needed to sell his blood because he was the only breadwinner for his 11-member family, which includes his elderly father and sick mother.

“Unemployment and the deterioration of the economic situation have reduced me to this,” said the university graduate, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics and administration. “I don't have anything except some dinars in my pocket, which is only enough for transport.”

The high rate of unemployment is forcing many Iraqis to sell their blood to shadowy brokers who supply people whose relatives are in need of transfusions.

The system works in the following way: the family of a patient approach the broker with the blood group and amount they require. An appropriate donor is found, whose blood is drawn at an official blood bank and transferred to the family.

Yet for some it get's worse.

Abdul-Waham Ameen owned a grocery store that was destroyed by a car bomb explosion. He didn’t have enough money to repair the shop, so he has been selling his blood for more than six months to pay for rent, food and other living costs.

“I may sell my kidney, too,” said Ameen. “Living conditions are extremely difficult. This is the only option for me.”

Words fail me!