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The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,254 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews

An in-depth report that takes readers on a shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market

Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years on the ground tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body parts—a vast hidden economy known as the "red market." From t

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Scott Carney I don't believe that there is an Arabic translation just yet.
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Will Byrnes

How can I sell thee? Let me count the ways. Actually, I don’t need to. In The Red Market investigative journalist Scott Carney seems to have taken care of that. He covers the wealth of ways in which business people in the people business sell parts of people to other people. He covers the selling of bones, kidneys, human ova, personal gestation services, blood, and more. Geographically, most of Carney’s work is in India, where he lived for several years, but he forays out to Cyprus, Spain and th
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Man, I'm glad I was just barely too old to donate my eggs for money that one time I thought about donating my eggs for money. Man, I'm glad I didn't die when I did that clinical trial. For money. (I know it should've been obvious that those things could be dangerous, but jeez, those things are fucking dangerous!) Man, I really hope I never need blood or an organ, because you basically can't get that shit without exploiting someone who is in a lower socioeconomic bracket than you at best, and cha ...more
This topic was so grim that I couldn't finish this book. It is well-written and the author traveled around the world to report on this story, so if you are interested in the global sale of human bodies and body parts, you will probably like this book.

First Paragraph
"I weight just a little under two hundred pounds, have brown hair, blue eyes, and a full set of teeth. As far as I know, my thyroid gland pumps the right hormones into the twelve pints of blood that circulate in my arteries and veins.
I wouldn't call it a fun read, not like Mary Roach's Stiff, but it is significant. Someone has to think about where bodies and their parts come from, and how best to limit coercion. And really, as long as there is money to be made, from selling blood, from international adoption fees, from skeletons to hang in classrooms, from kidney transplants, etc., then there is the possibility of things going very badly wrong. Sunshine, says Carney, and transparency, these are the keys to having a system wh ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a market that nobody really talks about, is not fully regulated and is highly profitable for everyone except the donors. While the author concentrates on the market for whole skeletons, fresh organs, blood and young children and babies in India, he does mention that there are other countries who also traffic in these areas.

He certainly doesn't hold anything back, and while really interesting, I wouldn't recommend this as pre-mealtime reading. The research and interviews he's conducted wi
Feb 15, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this knowing it would be interesting but wow. Scott Carney is a great writer, but most importantly The Red Market is an amazing piece of journalism. Exposing the very different ways that value is placed on the many different parts of the human body that the world needs, the book gives an inside look at the trade in human flesh that is compelling and eye-opening.

The story touches on the completely criminal, the quasi-grey-market, and the completely-aboveboard markets for human hair, b
Aug 14, 2011 Moira rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Carney explores what he has dubbed "the red market": the black market of human tissue, including organs, blood, hair, eggs, etc.

I picked this book up after hearing an interview with the author on NPR, and I couldn't wait to read it. Ultimately, however, I was disappointed in Carney's presentation of the information. While he brings to light horrible instances of people taking advantage of those in desperate situations (e.g., women who are willing to sell their kidneys just to get enough money t
08-06-2011: It only took a few hours for me to devour this very interesting book. It has so many truths I didn't want (and I think nobody wants) to muse about that I just tried to read as fast as I could so I could process its contents and make them part of that really hidden part of my brain.

This book raises a bunch of questions; starting with the obvious: What the f * * k is going on in this crazy planet? People harvesting blood twice a week from emaciated; gray-colored skin blood-slaves in o
Ramsey Hootman
Oct 28, 2013 Ramsey Hootman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is essentially a polemic against anonymous donation of anything - blood, organs, children. For my part, Carney's convinced me. I didn't have a strong opinion one way or another... in fact, the only topic I've ever really thought about here is international adoption. But I do approve of transparency, and he's made a strong argument in favor of opening the books on all practices dealing with the human body.

I think the most shocking to me was organ transplants. Once he started talking about i
Jul 01, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YAs & Up - folks interested in medicine, trafficking
Recommended to Allison by: NPR Books
This was incredibly interesting and fantastically written for laymen to follow. For a work with this much jargon and terminology the story galloped along at a breakneck pace pulling me with it. The horrific results of Carney's investigation should not be ignored. While the vast majority of the research was conducted on foreign soil, I would venture to say that the exact same types of things described in the book are happening within our own shores in the United States. It has given me serious pa ...more
Jun 27, 2011 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me rethink the process of organ donation...not that I would not be an organ donor, because I still plan to donate my entire cadaver upon death. But the author addresses the HUGE problem of international poverty and its effect on WHO is worth WHAT and how the west's insatiable need to have white babies, and have kidneys to replace our diabetes damaged ones, and even to have our hair look like the stars creates this HORROR for those in the third world. This is a gripping, sordid, wr ...more
Jul 25, 2016 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-checkout
Scott Carney travels the world (and by "the world" I mean "India") to discover the dark side of the red market, the trade in human body parts. Whether it's blood for transfusions during/after surgery, kidneys for replacements, or female eggs for in vitro fertilization, for every heart-warming success story there is a dark counterpart, for all those things have to come from somewhere, and when anything has a market value, some people will do anything to make a profit.

I wanted to like this book, a
LAPL Reads
Jan 29, 2014 LAPL Reads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this harrowing, eye-opening account, investigative journalist Scott Carney goes inside the multi-billion dollar industry of human bodies, and studies the international market for organs, bones, genetic material, and even live human beings. As readers learn about murky international regulation, and the desperation that drives prospective buyers and sellers into a shady, and often dangerous underworld, they will discover that with these ethically complex issues, there are no easy answers.

Sep 01, 2014 Malynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I were walking through the aisles of a bookstore and spotted this, I can guarantee that this is not a topic I would have been particularly interested in. My grandma ordered The Red Market online and, without much else to do, I picked it up and started reading it. I could not put it down. Without any prior knowledge to the horrors of the red market, it was as if I was exposed to a chain of events straight from a Hollywood thriller (a reference from another review, I do believe). I highly, high ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and well written read- but I'm a macabre person, and I wanted a couple more chapters. The author keeps it more PC than the title would suggest.
May 10, 2014 Nat00mbt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a deep respect for the author and years of hard work and research he put into writing this book. It opens a discussion for several huge ethical problems of the , modern medicine. Scott Carney says that our moral obligation is that we often should embrace and accept the fate being often a death sentence instead of accepting a gift of prolonged life which is a result of exploitation of the poorest... He talks a lot about the need of transparency in trading human tissue, no matter it is kidn ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Review originally posted http://nonfictionbookclubmississauga....

Scott Carney’s 2011 book, The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers, is not a book for the squeamish or for the faint of heart. If you can get past the slightly uncomfortable premise though, it’s an engaging and thought-provoking read about the implications of living in a world where the component parts of people’s bodies are attached to an economic value, and how
Jan 28, 2014 Harper rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
By the end of the introductory chapter I knew this wasn't going to be the book I hoped it would be, but I decided to stick it out anyway. The author had made it clear that he would be focusing more on the impact this "red market" makes on the people it takes advantage of (which it does, and it's terrible, but not what I want to read about) instead of the awesome creepiness of grave-robbing and the inner workings of the criminal groups that have emerged and control this (and other) trade(s). Gran ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The captions on the pictures are the perfect abstracts for each chapter. Stick to the captions.

At times this book seemed more like one travelogue of a fucked up world; other times it was more like a series of blog posts (specifically - it was a few ideas jotted down that serve to start a conversation); a free ticket to a horse and pony show put on for the benefit of an earnest American writer; and rarely, it included a small literature review or historical context. Since this is a topic that sho
Mar 22, 2012 Bookish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grave-robbing, modern day vampires, kidnappings, a poor village full of women who have sold their spare kidneys to pay the bills, an island nation where young, poor women come to sell their eggs. It comes as a relief by the time The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers by Scott Carney arrives at the chapter on a Hindu temple that sells the shorn hair of its worshippers to supply expensive wigs and extensions sold a world away. ...more
Jordan Dennis
Oct 23, 2014 Jordan Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, nonfiction
I picked this up after hearing Carney as part of Radiolab's excellent episode, "Blood." Their discussion of the buying and selling of donated blood here in the States fascinated me, so I thought I'd pick this up for some further reading. I'm familiar with some of the topics addressed in this book. For example, I grew up in a community that has a lot of domestic and international adoptions, so I know about the topic from personal experience. I've also had an interest in the stem cell debate, and ...more
Aug 13, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They sprung the lock and revealed a medical ward fit for a horror movie. IV drips hung from makeshift poles and patients moaned as if they were recovering from a delirium. Five emaciated men lying on small woven cots could barely lift their heads to acknowledge the visitors. The sticky air inside was far from sterile. The sun beating down on the tin roof above their heads magnified the heat like a tandoor oven. One man stared at the ceiling with glassy eyes as his blood snaked through a tube and ...more
I had really high hopes for this book. It seemed like just my sort of thing, dealing with the macabre but in a serious way. No vampires and zombies for me ;o)

But although I learned quite a bit about the world market of humans - parts and otherwise - the book left me a bit befuddled.
It reminded me of what it's like to read about being a Vegan or discussing food with a Vegan. It's all or nothing with them, and it seemed like the author was arguing a bit on that side as well, i.e. use no body parts
Jan 15, 2016 Libby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's true this book doesn't pull punches in describing medical intervention/death, but some of the reviews here make it seem like a bloodbath (it's not, so don't be scared away). The Red Market is a really brilliantly researched series of discussions on selling and purchasing body parts, including organs, skeletons, and hair. Carney relies mostly on first-hand experience and interviews with buyers and sellers/victims, while also referring to historical precedent and studies done on the red marke ...more
Stu Strumwasser
Jan 26, 2015 Stu Strumwasser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scott Carney is an investigative journalist for "Wired," "Mother Jones" and other leading magazines. His skill and experience as a reporter shine in this terrifyingly real tome about the sale of various body parts all over the globe. What's even more impressive, perhaps, is the punch and elegance of his prose. If you want to read just one book about the international black market for organs and hair and blood and cadavers and more--this incredible glimpse into several bizarre worlds is a buffet ...more
Christopher DeMarcus
One of the most important books of the last decade.

The analogy of people becoming commodities is no longer. All in, the typical fair skinned person is worth $250,000.

This is book brings cold evidence that the weak have become nothing more than disposable income for the strong.
Nov 02, 2011 S'hi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scott Carney does a remarkable job in presenting us with issues which would be difficult to contemplate by describing his own introduction and experience in this field. By bringing us through the personal situations we are given a means to confront realities which show how our ethics fail to keep up with our actions. Journalism tends to confront us with things we would rather not know about, or to put judgments before us for which we are unqualified to make. Carney allows us, through this excell ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and eye-opening; before this book, I had never thought of the possibility of the human body as having a price on it, either as a whole or in parts. My favorite parts of this book involved the pricing the author has on his own body (wholly and in parts), and his description of his own drug prescription trial at Covance in Madison, WI. (In fact, WI is mentioned muchly in this book. Whether it's because the author graduated from UW-Madison or b/c WI appears to be highly involved in the in ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimen
Fantastic. This should be required reading. Unfortunately, most people don't have the "stomach" for it. Ignorance is bliss. NOT!!!

My favorite chapter was "Black Gold," describing the author's firsthand experience with a renewable resource: human hair--in this case, from India. How it is acquired, processed and sold mainly to the US or Africa, to manufacture hair extensions. Best quality is something assumed to be virgin hair, known as "Remy." Doesn't mean the gals haven't had sex; it means the h
Dec 22, 2014 Aether rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Scott Carney is an investigative journalist and anthropologist whose stories blend narrative non-fiction with ethnography. He has been a contributing editor at Wired and his work also appears in Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, Playboy, Details, Discover, Outside, and Fast Company. He regularly appears on variety of radio and television stations from NPR to National Geographic TV. In 2010 he won the ...more
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“I weigh just a little under two hundred pounds have brown hair blue eyes and a full set of teeth. As far as I know my thyroid gland pumps the right hormones into the twelve pints of blood that circulate in my arteries and veins. At six feet and two inches I have long femurs and tibias with solid connective tissue. Both my kidneys function properly and my heart runs at a steady clip of eighty-seven beats per minute. All in I figure I'm worth about 250 000.” 6 likes
“People don't go to a transplant center to buy medical services: They go to buy organs.” 1 likes
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