The Mission of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) is to promote, implement and uphold the Declaration of Istanbul so as to combat organ trafficking, transplant tourism and transplant commercialism and to encourage adoption of effective and ethical transplantation practices around the world.
Organ transplantation is one of the greatest medical success stories of the twentieth century. It has prolonged and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide, thanks to generous organ donors, and dedicated scientific and clinical health professionals.
In 2007 it was estimated that up to 10 percent of organ transplantations worldwide involved people who were trafficked, forced, coerced, paid, or incentivized for removal of their vital organs. These organs were used for patients who needed a transplant and travelled to purchase them for transplantation. The donors were vulnerable to exploitation and in many cases suffered permanent health complications because of this unethical practice.
Most patients who travelled to purchase and receive these organs came from wealthy countries. It should be noted that their health outcomes were generally worse than patients who received transplants in their own countries.
The Declaration of Istanbul was developed in response to this urgent situation at a summit meeting held in Istanbul in April 2008. The international assembly of 151 participants included scientific and medical bodies, government officials, social scientists, and ethicists. Their objective was to address the growing problem of human trafficking and tourism for the purpose of organ transplantation. The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group was created in 2010 to advance the goals established at this meeting and to respond to new challenges in organ trafficking and transplant tourism.
The Declaration of Istanbul was updated in 2018 to reflect the evolving goals of organ donation and transplant professionals. It was determined that everyone in need should benefit from transplant, regardless of where they live, without relying on unethical and exploitive practices. This declaration continues to provide ethical guidance and support for medical professionals, policymakers, professional societies, national health authorities, and inter-governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Council of Europe.
The Declaration of Istanbul has contributed to considerable progress since 2008 to reduce trafficking, commercialism, and tourism for organ transplantation in countries around the world. The DICG is continuing their work to help countries achieve organ donation and transplantation self-sufficiency. Their goals are for countries to:
The DICG’s goals continue to evolve to reflect current global needs. You can be part of the solution to end organ trafficking and tourism in transplantation by:
The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) is a group of leading medical experts from around the world. They are sponsored by the Transplantation Society (TTS) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and endorsed by more than 80 international professional societies and governmental agencies. This group understands how desperate many patients feel when they need a lifesaving organ transplant. They know that many would consider traveling to another country to obtain that organ. However, they also understand that many organ donors in poor countries are exploited, trafficked, forced, paid, or incentivized for removal of their vital organs, and in many cases, suffer permanent health complications.
That’s why because of their organ donatiothe DICG developed strategies to prevent organ trafficking and transplant tourism. They created principles and proposals to promote donor transplantation around the world in ways that end exploitation and protect both donors and recipients. Their policy document is called The Declaration of Istanbul.