As the Islamic State has risen to become a yearly $2 billion terrorist outfit, it has found various methods to reel in its revenue such as oil production, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.
However, it has been revealed that there is yet another lucrative source for ISIS funding: trafficking human organs.
According to a recent Al Monitor report addressing the various revenue sources of the Islamic State, a doctor from Mosul named Siruwan al-Mosuli is claiming that ISIS hired foreign doctors to run an extensive organ trafficking system that has the potential to generate great profits.
Mosuli, who is an ear, nose and throat doctor by trade, said he noticed something fishy when ISIS leaders hired new Arab and foreign doctors to work in their hospitals in Mosul and did not allow the foreign doctors to interact with the local doctors. Mosuli said that soon after, information was leaked to him about organ selling.
According to Mosuli, the Islamic State takes organs from a variety of sources. He said the organs mostly come from dead militants, whose bodies are quickly transported to the hospital. However, Mosuli said that ISIS also takes organs from individuals they kidnap (religious minorities like Christians and Yazidis). According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), ISIS also sells the bodies and organs of the injured individuals under ISIS arrest.
The Islamic State’s organ trafficking system would not be successful without the aid of external expert organ transporters, or as the report calls them “networks specialized in trafficking human organs.” Mosuli further added that the network is a “specialized mafia” dedicated to organ smuggling and nothing else.
Although Mosuli said that organ selling can yield outstanding profit, it absolutely requires coordination between all parties involved, including the cooperation of hospitals and other medical institutions in other countries, because the organs must be transported and implanted in a timely manner. He added that without such coordination, the success of the trade could not be maintained.
As the Assyrian International News Agency points out, it is suspected that most of the organs smuggled out of Syria and Iraq by ISIS are usually being shipped to neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia or Turkey.
Although ISIS’ biggest revenue gainer is their selling of over $1 million per day in crude oil, which they produce from oil refineries captured in besieged towns, another massive ISIS revenue producer is their human trafficking ring, which the OHCHR estimates has led to over 25,000 religious minority women and children being either imprisoned or sexually assaulted.
But another less-publicized revenue source is ISIS’ drug smuggling ring. Al Monitor report finds that ISIS trafficks Afghan heroin into Europe from the city of Nineveh, which the Russian Federal Drug Control Service says is generating “significant revenues.” The service added that ISIS supplies half of Europe’s total heroin consumption.
“The large-scale movement of Afghan heroin acts as an ongoing financial base aiding the functioning of the Islamic State, which secures huge profits by providing half of the total heroin supplied to Europe via destabilized Iraq and some African heroin, which is sent from Iraq to Europe,” the Russian Federal Drug Control Service issued in a statement.
ISIS also makes money from smuggling families and individuals into other countries. The report highlights one instance when a family paid ISIS over $8,000 per individual to sneak them into Turkey.