“An unforgettable nonfiction thriller, expertly reported….A tremendously revealing and twisted ride, where life and death are now mere cold cash commodities.”
—Michael Largo, author of Final Exits
Award-winning investigative journalist and contributing Wired editor Scott Carney leads readers on a breathtaking journey through the macabre underworld of the global body bazaar, where organs, bones, and even live people are bought and sold on The Red Market. As gripping as CSI and as eye-opening as Mary Roach’s Stiff, Carney’s The Red Market sheds a blazing new light on the disturbing, billion-dollar business of trading in human body parts, bodies, and child trafficking, raising issues and exposing corruptions almost too bizarre and shocking to imagine.
Journalist Carney investigates the burgeoning underground economy in human organs, the world's "red market," in which bones, kidneys, ligaments, wombs, and human hair are harvested from the world's poorest people and sent to shore up faltering American and European bodies. "In Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, entire villages sell organs, rent wombs," he writes. And the illusion that people selling their tissue "benefit from the transaction" is a devastating fantasy. "People who sell bodies and body parts rarely see their lives improved," he writes, and his accounts of the "body bazaar" are chilling: an Indian farmer who imprisoned men for years at a time in order to drain their blood for profit; Chinese prisons that treat their populations as de facto organ farms; Western families adopting children they believe are orphans who are, in reality, kidnapped. An important examination of the politics of "the red market" and the inequities that make it possible, the book makes a persuasive case that we must acknowledge and take responsibility for the red market, and medical innovation must be accompanied by ethical checks and "radical transparency" lest our medical achievements precipitate horrific human cost.