(AP)—A Dutch academic hospital is taking the lead in a major international investigation into the illegal trafficking in human organs for transplants.
The Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam announced Thursday it is heading a three-year probe to "map out this relatively new form of serious crime."
Organizations in Romania, Sweden, Bulgaria and Spain are also involved in the new project along with the European police organization Europol, the United Nations and European transplant organizations.
The hospital says little is known about the scale of organ trafficking.
In one recent case, a European Union prosecutor in Kosovo indicted a Turkish and an Israeli national in June for involvement in an international ring that duped poor people into donating kidneys that were transplanted into wealthy buyers. The suspects are still at large.