Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a medical “middleman” have been found guilty of an organ-trafficking plot, after they brought a 21-year-old man to the United Kingdom from Nigeria.
Sen. Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, were convicted of conspiring to exploit the man for his kidney, in the first such case under modern slavery laws.
The Old Bailey heard the organ was for the couple’s daughter, Sonia, aged 25.
She was cleared of the same charge.
The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The prosecution said he was offered up to £7,000 and promised opportunities in the UK for helping, and that he only realised what was going on when he met doctors at the hospital.
It was alleged the defendants had tried to convince medics at the Royal Free by pretending he was Sonia’s cousin, when they were not related.
While it is lawful to donate a kidney, it becomes criminal if there is a reward of money or other material advantage.
When he was rejected as unsuitable, the court heard the Ekweremadus transferred their interest to Turkey and set about finding another donor.
An investigation was launched after the young man ran away from London and slept rough for days before walking into a police station in Staines, in Surrey, crying and in distress.
The Ekweremadus, who have an address in Willesden Green, north-west London, and Dr Obeta, from Southwark, south London, denied the charge against them.
It is the first time that defendants have been convicted under the Modern Slavery Act of an organ-trafficking conspiracy.
Sentencing is set to take place on 5 May. – BBC.
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