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house Bill H.R. 2121

Does the U.S. Need to Revoke Organ Traffickers’ Passports and Freeze Their Assets?

Argument in favor

The U.S. government should take whatever steps it can to combat international organ trafficking, including freezing the assets of perpetrators or revoking their passport.

Argument opposed

Giving the federal government these tools to stop organ trafficking won’t do much to change the status quo. Congress should either do more or not bother.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations
    IntroducedApril 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2121?

This bill would attempt to combat international organ trafficking by reforming trafficking law and giving both the State Department and the president the ability to revoke the passports or otherwise sanction known traffickers.

The State Department would be able to prevent a passport from being issued to a person convicted of trafficking in human organs that crossed international borders in committing that crime. It would also have the ability to revoke the passport of such an individual if one had already been issued.

The president would be able to sanction a U.S. citizen travelling overseas to traffic organs under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if the citizen participates in activity related to human organ trafficking.

Additionally, Congress offers the following statements on the topic of international organ trafficking in the bill’s text:

  • Kidnapping or coercing a person to extract their organs and sell them for profit is in direct opposition to the standards for ethical behavior upon which U.S. law is based;
  • Harvesting organs from living children is a violation of human rights and breaches internationally accepted medical ethical standards;
  • Illegal harvesting and trafficking of human organs violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Creating efficient national organ donation systems that have safeguards to ensure organ donations are voluntary is the most effective way to combat organ trafficking.


Organ traffickers; the State Department; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2121

The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $7 million over the 2017-2021 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to stop organ trafficking

"My legislation, HR. 2121, seeks to stop organ trafficking. According to Global Financial Integrity data, 10% of transplanted organs worldwide are illegally obtained. These organs are often forcibly harvested from oppressed minorities and prisoners or coerced from vulnerable people. Organ trafficking is an appalling crime that groups such as terrorist organizations have used to promote fear while raising funds for their activities. The United States needs to take action to protect innocent people throughout the world and combat these terrible crimes."

In the 114th and 115th Congresses, Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI) introduced this bill to combat international organ trafficking by criminal organizations:

“The illegal trafficking of human organs is a tragic and terrible crime. Groups like ISIS use this brutal practice to fund their activities and strike fear in the hearts of innocent people. That’s why it’s critical that America takes a leading role in combating these atrocities and preventing more people from falling victim to these terrible crimes.”

This bill has six bipartisan cosponsors, including five Republicans and one Democrat, in the 116th Congress.

Last Congress, this bill was sponsored by Rep. Dave Trott (R-PA) and passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee with unanimous consent. It had the support of five Democratic cosponsors.

Of Note: It has been estimated by the World Health Organization that about 10 percent of the organs transplanted in 2010 were obtained through the black market, or about 11,000 organs.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user informatique)


STOP Organ Trafficking Act

Official Title

To combat trafficking in human organs, and for other purposes.

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