x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kidney for sale on Dubizzle - but not for long

Website pulls advert for Dh200,000 organ as a gross violation of its terms of use.

DUBAI // A human kidney, apparently in "flawless" condition, was advertised for sale on Dubizzle last week for Dh200,000.

The advertisement lasted just hours before it was taken down by administrators as a "gross violation" of the terms of usage of the classifieds website.

Dubizzle is no stranger to odd advertisements, from a Boeing 727 to an island in the Maldives.

The founder of the site, JC Butler, said adverts for human organs were extremely rare. "I don't think it's happened before," he said. "It's certainly not a chronic problem where there's a black market of kidney sellers that are always advertising on Dubizzle."

Last month, a seller advertised a baby cheetah on the site before that too was removed by Dubizzle staff.

Mr Butler said a team of quality control administrators worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week to screen the 20,000 advertisements the site receives daily.

Despite the human overview and the many technical filters the company uses to catch online fraudsters and those selling animals, there are inevitably some adverts that fall through the cracks, Mr Butler said.

"We are actively looking for these kinds of adverts so we can remove them and block the account of the person who posted it. Often, as in the case mentioned, we are able to remove it within a few hours."

There are strict rules on the buying and selling of organs in the UAE, said Dr Ali Abdulkareem Al Obaidi, chairman of the National Organ Transplant Committee.

"In no place in the world is it permissible for people to sell or buy organs," he said. "We hear that it happens in different parts of the world, but I haven't seen it here before."

mcroucher@thenational.ae