A Nigerian senator is on trial charged with exploiting a 21-year-old to come to London and donate a kidney.
Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, their daughter Sonia, 25, and an associate, Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, allegedly broke modern slavery laws. The Old Bailey heard on Monday that Mr Ekweremadu illegally paid a street trader from Lagos, to travel to the UK, for a donation to help Sonia, who suffers from a kidney disease. The defendants deny the charges.
Opening the case, prosecutor Hugh Davies KC said Mr Ekweremadu's "status and influence had produced a significant degree of wealth".
The family from Willesden Green, north-west London, had "international connections" he said. Sonia Ekweremadu's condition, he said, could have been alleviated or cured by a kidney transplant, and the family was "close, open and loving", with a "direct interest in Sonia's medical treatment."
But, he told the jury, rewarding someone for a kidney donation was illegal. He said there was an "obvious risk that those providing organs for transplantation for reward are likely to come from the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society."
The defendants have been charged under modern slavery legislation which makes it an offence to "arrange or facilitate the travel" of a person to the UK for exploitation. This offence carries a higher potential sentence of life, compared to a maximum of three years for illegally making an organ donation.