The Egyptian interior ministry announced it clamped down on a private hospital and arrested 12 people including medial staff involved in human organ trafficking, in Giza province, part of greater Cairo.
The detained include three doctors, four nurses, three hospital workers and two agents.
The ministry said the arrestees who form a network, “agreed with Egyptians to transfer some of their organs to foreign patients in exchange for large sums of money, exploiting people’s financial need,” the interior ministry said.
Security forces stormed the premises while doctors were carrying out an operation to remove the kidneys and part of the liver of a citizen in the private clinic in Giza.
The ministry noted the citizen agreed to sell the organs for $10,000.
The hospital has been closed down pending investigation.
Egypt has been classified as one the top hubs of illegal organ trafficking in the world.
The illegal trade thrives in the North African country because of poverty. Thousands of needy Egyptians reportedly sell their body parts each year to be able to buy food or pay off debts, according to the United Nations.
According to a report published by the British Journal of Criminology last year, a kidney on Egypt’s black market can fetch up to $100,000, The New Arab reports.
Migrants are often arrested and obliged to sell their organs in order to afford the rest of their journey.
In January, two Saudi brothers were held in Egypt for nearly two months after being accused by authorities of involvement in the country’s organ black market, The New Arab notes.
Abdul Ilah al-Shabrami, 37 reportedly accompanied his brother Abdullah to have a kidney transplant in the Egyptian capital, with the accord of the Saudi embassy. Shabrami said he paid $75,000 for the medial procedure.
Sale of organs and transplants between Egyptians and foreigners is prohibited in Egypt.
Some 25 people, among whom doctors and university professors, were arrested in December over suspicion that they belong to an organ trafficking network.