Kidney village



The Shocking Village Where Everyone Has Only One Kidney

The bizarre story of Nepal’s “Kidney Village”



Hokse is a small village located in the east of Kathmandu-Nepal, filled with mud-brick homes and known for its residents commuting to the capital for work since staying in their home village means making less than $2 a day working on small farms.

But what appears to be a normal small town, has a dark secret hiding within.

Out of the 75 households in a single ward of homes, at least one member has sold a kidney.


The story began when smooth-talking organ traffickers regularly visited Hokse and other small villages for over a decade, in an attempt to convince the poor and uneducated residents to have operations in southern India. One of their regular tricks was to play on their naivety and tell them that their kidney would grow back!

Some victims were kidnapped and forced to give up an organ, and some were lied to about needing an operation and the organ was harvested without their knowledge. Other villagers were more aware of the physical risks of the procedure but were convinced to sell one of their vital organs in hopes that the money they received in exchange would allow them to buy a piece of land to build a proper house. They were not after the money for indulgence but rather to provide their families with basic needs.

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While it provided a good sum of money in their currency, the villagers were scammed into selling their kidneys for as low as £160 while they were sold to recipients for over £6500.

Similar illegal scams have resulted in an estimated 10,000 black-market human organ operations annually generating a profit of up to £650million, according to the World Health Organization.

In Hoske, every resident either has or is related to someone who has sold their kidney.

Out of the 4,000 people who live there, at least 321 of them have been confirmed cases of kidney trafficking but the number is estimated to be much higher since the scars are easily hidden under a shirt, and many villagers moved away after their surgery to avoid becoming the subject of widespread gossip in the small town.

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Most of the people who live with a single kidney require regular checkups to ensure the remaining kidney does not fail as a side effect but the residents are not likely to do that both for lack of understanding about the health implications and the simple fact of a costly medical bill.

Unfortunately, the only people who made a huge amount of money were the middlemen traders who profited from the exploitation of Nepalese villagers.

But the gut-wrenching story does not end here!

Most of the villagers lost a body part to buy land and build a house — only for it to be destroyed in the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

Just when it seemed the lives of these villagers couldn’t get any more devastating, a disastrous earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Nepal on April 25 and shattered their dream of owning a home.

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While the Nepalese government passed a law banning the sale of kidneys in 2007, the earthquake certainly worsened the situation since many residents were desperate for the money to survive.

How much is a kidney worth in Nepal?

A recent study conducted by the forum found that Nepali brokers can sell kidneys for as much as 150,000 rupees ($1438).


How much does a kidney transplant cost in Nepal?

The cost of kidney transplants are unbelievably high. Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital charges around NPR 400,000 to 500,000 for the transplant, while the Human Organ Transplant Centre charges NPR 300,000. The HLA test done before the operation alone costs about NPR 100,000.

How large is a human kidney?

Each kidney is about 5 inches (about 13 centimeters) long and about 3 inches (about 8 centimeters) wide — about the size of a computer mouse. To locate your kidneys, put your hands on your hips, then slide your hands up until you can feel your ribs.


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