Spanish Penal Code addresses the issue of organ trafficking (English translation)

In 2010, the Spanish Penal Code has newly addressed the issue of organ trafficking.

Below follows an English translation of the Article 156 bis related to organ trafficking and transplant tourism.



In response to the increasingly common phenomenon of the sale of human organs and the call of international forums to address their punishment, the illicit trafficking in human organs, as well as their transplantation, has become considered as a criminal offense. Already in 2004 the World Health Organization declared that the sale of organs was contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, urging doctors not to proceed with a transplant if they suspected that the organ was the subject of a transaction. Recently at the International Summit on Transplant Tourism and Organ Trafficking in May 2008, representatives of 78 countries agreed on the so-called “Istanbul Declaration”, where it is stated that such practices violate the principles of equality, justice and respect for human dignity and that they must be eradicated. Although our Penal Code already considers these practices as criminal injury, it is necessary to give special treatment to such activities, punishing those who promote, facilitate or advertise the obtaining or illegal trafficking in human organs or their transplantation. In this context, it has been considered that the recipients should be considered liable, if being aware of the illicit origin of the organ, consent to the transplantation, with the possibility of criminal sanctions being moderated attending to concurrent circumstances.

Article 156 bis is added, which shall read as follows:

1. Those who promote, facilitate or advertise the procurement or illegal trafficking of human organs or their transplantation, shall be punished with imprisonment from six to twelve years in case of vital organs, and imprisonment for three to six years in case of non-vital organs.

2. Recipients consenting to receive a transplant  knowing its illicit origin shall be liable to the same penalties as in the previous section, which may be lowered by one or two degrees attending to the circumstances of the crime and of the offender.

3. When in accordance with the provisions laid down in Article 31 bis, a legal person is responsible for the offenses covered by this article, he shall pay a fine of three to five times the profit made.