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Chicago Violence, Homeless Camps; Starbucks Community Kidney Trafficking
Aired October 03, 2009 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDIRKCA WHITFIELD. CNN ANCHOR: A look at our top stories right now.
The death toll from Wednesday's devastating earthquake in Indonesia could skyrocket. Officials now say as many as 4,000 people could be buried under the rubble. That is a 1,000 more than previously thought. People are frantically searching for their loved ones, digging through debris with hammers, chisels and even their bare hands. There are at least 540 confirmed dead, hundreds of people were injured.
Iran's president says President Obama is making a big mistake about his country's new uranium enrichment facility. Iranian TV quotes Ahmadinejad as saying the sight was not a secret like Mr. Obama says. Ahmadinejad said Iran told the United Nations about the site even earlier than the U.N. required. His comments came just hours before the head of the U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Agency arrived in Iran to inspect the facility.
And a tearful tribute to a Chicago honor student brutally beaten to death by a group of teens. The funeral for a 16-year-old Darrin Albert was held today. Cell phone video captured the attack outside of Chicago's Community Center last month, which was really earlier this week. It's kind of misleading. It shows a group of teenagers kicking and hitting him with railroad ties. Four suspects have been charged with murder in the killing.
Chicago's rampant street violence despite by some city residences as a reason why they should be able to own handguns as a form of protection. Chicago imposed a ban on hand guns and automatic weapons back in 1982. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to that ban. Coming up later on this hour, the chief plaintiff in the case joining us from Chicago.
So, Chicago's gun laws were aimed at stemming the city's soaring violence almost three decades ago. Our entire next hour is devoted to examining violence in Chicago today and how gun laws might be fitting in. Josh Levs is here with a preview of what's straight ahead, just less than an hour from now.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, coming up. And Fred we're getting a lot of interesting take on this idea of gun ownership. One way we are hearing from people is through iReports, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON BROWN: I don't think that Chicagoans should be able to carry weapons. There's a high crime rate here especially in the south and the west side that I think it would move the crime here to the north side and it definitely would not be good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: But as we are hearing from you every which way, we are also hearing the other side. Lets zoom in I want to show one of the post we have gotten on face book. This comes to us from Octavius.
I live in Chicago; I believe you should have the right to bear arms in your home. The problem is not as simple as just the guns or the violence. America has a problem and it is treating the symptom and not the cause.
Let's go to these graphics so you can see how to contact us. It's CNN.com/news room. Fred's Facebook page, Fredricka Whitfield CNN, and on the next screen you will see mine, CNN.com/Josh, a short cut to the blog, I'm also on Facebook and twitter, Josh Levs CNN. Fred we are getting so many reactions to this already.
LEVS: All in advance of our next hour. The guests will have responses to it.
WHITFIELD: We're going to have an incredible panel of guests including a police officer, an 18 year veteran whose teenage son died to violence on the streets there. We're going to have a civil rights attorney who is going to join us to explain exactly what is the road ahead for that Chicago based case to the U.S. Supreme Court and a host of others. Thanks so much, Josh.
All right. New developments in a story our "Special Investigations Unit" has been following for quite some time now. We'll check in with CNN's Drew Griffin for an update on the shadowy world of organ trafficking.
WHITFIELD: The black market for organs is prospering across the world. CNNs Drew Griffin has been digging deep into this new phenomenon. Well he is with the "Special Investigations Unit." It's new, but then not so new. It's taken a new turn hasn't it?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT: What we have heard over the years is third world countries where people are preyed on for their kidneys. The rich people are buying them. What we were stunned to find out after the FBI made a major arrest over the summer Fred, was that this phenomenon has come to the United States. People are coming to the United States to buy and sell kidneys, basically on the black or the gray market. It was quite stunning as we followed the trail backwards to find out that it's been going on here for years.
WHITFIELD: There are so many layers to this, this is a three- part series that we are going to be running this hour breaking down that it's not everywhere else, it's not India and other countries that people have been I guess more accustomed to hearing. But it's right here and thriving.
GRIFFIN: It is right here in the United States and growing and it is spreading to every country. What's happened over the years is that countries will become sensors of transplants. The Philippines, China, and then you will see those countries become embarrassed and they will crackdown. So the transplant industry if you will moves to another country, South Africa, the Ukraine and they will keep bopping around as the laws change, as those crack downs occur. Now, what the World Health Organization is hearing is it's so wide open because they are so easily brokered through the Internet and through various brokers that we have uncovered in some of these pieces that you can literally travel anywhere in the world to buy and sell a kidney.
WHITFIELD: But what's interesting here is for a long time we all have been conditioned to believe and understand the reason why a lot of people were doing it in Brazil and India and other countries that you just mentioned China, because people were desperate for money. They were willing to sell their kidney or their were willing to sell one of their organs. But here in the U.S., we are talking of an issue of people who were waiting -- people who were waiting for these organs; they feel like the lines are just too long, there's got to be another way around this. I don't want to wait for that call months if not years from now.
GRIFFIN: They are willing to pay much more -- let me give you an example. You can get a kidney right now in some of the former Soviet Union for $2700. We document in one of our reports that you will see a case where a Korean kid comes over to the United States and sells his to an American for $25,000. There's this brokering going on. And you are right people don't want to wait on this kidney's waiting list forever. They want to get the kidney in their body as soon as possible to improve their chances of surviving.
WHITFIELD: So now health officials across the world are gathering in Beirut, Lebanon, of all places, to have a conference to say how do we try to police and regulate it because we realize it's here to stay.
GRIFFIN: People in transplant industries they really want to have some kind of fair market system where both the donor and the buyer can some how be protected from each other. No one community or no one country or no one third world is preyed upon for the kidneys. There's a fair market value established. That's really an out there kind of thought that they are trying to bring into the mainstream.
WHITFIELD: It's the tip of the iceberg. Even though we know you dig very deep, three parts we are going to be running this hour. Drew Griffin, Special Investigations Unit. Thank you very much.
All right. Which now brings us to Drew's first report. It concerns the arrest of a New York man accused of running a global organ trafficking network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN (voice over): When the FBI arrested Brooklyn businessman, they had no idea what they say they uncovered would be so big. Law enforcement sources who are still investigating tell CNN Rosenbomb was running an operation called United Life Line. He was using hospitals in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. What he was doing was selling kidneys.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000.
GRIFFIN: Investigators say the donors and patients in this network had one thing in common, they were all Jewish. Donors usually came from Eastern Europe, mostly poor, selling their kidneys for $5,000 or $6,000 to U.S. and Israeli patients willing to pay up to $160,000 for the kidney itself and the transplant. Rosenbomb's attorney claims he hasn't had enough time to assess the FBI's case and offered no comment, but the lawyer did say law enforcement's account of Rosenbomb's network was inaccurate.
To those who study the illegal trade of organs, allegations of widespread trafficking in kidneys on the east coast should surprise no one. According to researcher Nancy Scheper-Hughes, that has included organized crime.
NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES, FOUNDER, ORGANS WATCH: Mainly, that business has been run by a Russian mafia. And often they have been using Bulgarian guest workers or new Russian immigrants to fuel it.
NIC ROSEN (ph): I saw an ad in the paper and it said kidney donor wanted.
GRIFFIN: Nic Rosen (ph) said selling a kidney in the United States was as easy as answering that ad. Nic Rosen (ph) is an Iranian citizen, he bears the scars of an operation where he says the doctors nor the hospital asks too many questions.
Do you think they knew?
ROSEN (ph): I think they may have had a feeling or a hint, but I can't say I know for sure.
GRIFFIN: A few weeks after answering the ad with a promised pay off of $20,000, Rosen said he was flown to New York and hustled to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he and the patient he never met before told hospital staff they were cousins.
They didn't ask for family records or anything like that?
GRIFFIN: So, basically, you were just two guy that came in, declared yourselves as cousins --
GRIFFIN: Dr. Barbara Murphy is in charge of the hospitals kidney unit, she says screening is rigorous, but --
DR. BARBARA MURPHY, MT. SINAI HOSPITAL: We're not detectives. We're not the FBI. We don't have methods that they have at our disposal and people can on occasion deceive us.
GRIFFIN: Nancy Scheper-Hughes is a University of California anthropologist who has been tracking illegal organ sales for 15 years. For the hospitals, it pays to look the other way.
SCHEPER-HUGHES: I ask not only what about the surgeon, what about the transplant coordinators? The nurse coordinators. The hospital Chaplin? They are supposed to screen people and say well, how long have you known each other?
GRIFFIN: On the day we talked to her, she said she was learning of a young Korean man recovering in Los Angeles's Cedar Side Hospital having just sold his kidney for $25,000 in cash.
It took place --
SCHEPER-HUGES: Last night. In Los Angeles. A kid who doesn't speak much English, who was terrified and shacking and thought maybe I, made a mistake to do this, but $25,000 you have to admit is a good amount of cash.
GRIFFIN: A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to CNN the surgery did take place. The hospital wouldn't comment on specifics. If at any time during the evaluation process, they suspect the donor is inappropriately paid for a kidney, the transplant is cancelled. It's not happening enough. The World Health Organization estimates one out of every ten kidney transplants in the world is elicit.
SCHEPER-HUGHES: I think there's no stopping it. I'm depressed about it now.
GRIFFIN: Depressed because it's a business that's only getting bigger. As more of the world's desperately poor are willing to sell off a piece of themselves.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Berkeley, California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And Drew has followed the organ trafficking to Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHEPER-HUGHES: There's a belief, of course, that not only is transplant better than dialysis, but you want a living donor. It's better than a kidney on ice or a kidney under a truck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Part two of our look at organ trafficking, just ahead after top stories and Jacqui Jeras tracking typhoon Parma.
WHITFIELD: A look at the top stories now. Mourners gather in Chicago this morning to pay their last respects to Darien Alberts, the honor student beaten to death outside his high school. His funeral services were held at a church on the cities south side. Four teens are charged with the murder of the sixteen year old beating death. The incident was caught on camera.
In the Philippines typhoon Parma has not been a disaster -- well, not the disaster it could have been. It made land fall today forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. While the main part of the storm missed the countries heavily populated area, still produced a whole lot of rain. At one point, 80 percent of Manila was submerged. At least two deaths are reported.
And on the Italian Island of Cecily, mud slides have killed at least 21 people and about 30 other people are still missing. The mud slides were triggered by heavy rain two days ago. The island is now under a state of emergency.
So what's ahead for the Philippines as typhoon Parma moves on? Well Jacqui Jeras is tracking the big storm for us in the CNN Weather Center. Jacqui.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The problem is that Parma doesn't want to move on a whole heck of a lot. It's a very slow moving system now and we are expecting it to stall out. It's going to be the concern over the next couple days here. There you can see the storm over land as it made land fall earlier today with winds 90 to 100 miles per hour. It's down to 85, still gusting. It's moved over an unpopulated area bringing in the torrential downpours. Ten inches of rain has been reported in northern parts, there you can see it is north of Manila. It's expected to move slowly off the coast and stay, maybe a category one or category 2 storms.
It could be good news for Taiwan because right now, they are out of the area where it's expected to move. But, when we start seeing very little steering and very weak wind, it gets a mind of its own. They still need to be on very high guard. Unfortunately, we think it's going to bring another ten plus inches of rainfall in to the northern parts of the Philippines. So flooding will likely be measured in feet instead of inches.
Also international, not necessarily weather related, but some really cool pictures that we want to show you. This is out of Germany right now. Germany is celebrating their 20th anniversary with a parade. That thing you are looking at is a giant puppet thing and they are operating them with cranes and wood and metal. They have two of them that they moved through the city of Berlin, and then had them meet at the gate, which was the area that used to divide east and West Germany, interesting stuff.
WHITFIELD: It definitely is.
JERAS: It's huge!
WHITFIELD: It's fantastic and clearly very popular, a sizable turn out. People want to see that. Thanks a lot Jacqui.
WHITFIELD: Coming up next, part two of Drew Griffins "Special Investigation" report on organ trafficking. He'll take us to a place that many people are calling ground zero for organ transactions.
WHITFIELD: All right, time now for the second part of Drew Griffin "Special Investigation Unit" report on the organ trafficking. In this segment, Drew follows the trail to Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: In this Televise Hospital room you can see just how desperate some Israelis are for kidneys. Ricky Shai's (ph) mother is nearly unresponsive, blind, her diabetes slowly killing her. She has been on a national kidney waiting list for years. Sitting beside her, Shay's father, also a diabetic who decided not to wait for a kidney of his own and took matters into his own hands.
RICKI SHAI, TRANSPLANT PATIENT DAUGHTER: My father didn't want to be like my mother.
GRIFFIN: So in April, he cut a deal with a man who buys and sells kidney's a kidney broker. For $100,000 promised new life.
R. SHAI: The broker is the killer. He went to him and they suggest him for two days he become a new man. Come with me, two days, $100,000.
Come with me?
GRIFFIN: To China?
R. SHAI: To China.
GRIFFIN: Once in China Shai says her father was taken to a rural hospital; a teenage girl was waiting there. The broker paying $5000 for the kidney that would go to Venchesko (ph). The surgery went poorly. Shai captured these images on her phone of her father as what she described as a filthy hospital. The donor Shai says died shortly after surgery, no one knows why.
R. SHAI: She was 18 years, she was a child. I don't understand they gave him $5,000 for her kidney. She died.
GRIFFIN: The broker has yet to face sanctions. It was legal in Israel. Some state sponsored health insurance actually paid. Nancy Scheper-Hughes studies the organ trade and says Israel has become a sort of ground zero for both legal and illegal transactions. Scheper- Hughes says that is medicine mastered the science of kidney transplants. The numbers of procedures grew. But in Israel, so, too, did the belief. The best way to treat kidney disease was to find a new one.
SCHEPER-HUGHES: Not only is transplant better than dialysis, but you want a living donor. It's better than a kidney that was on ice or on a truck.
GRIFFIN: This Israeli kidney broker insists he operates legally because he no longer finds kidneys for clients, but lets clients find their own. But he still wants his face hidden. He says Israelis have a phrase that they don't like to weaken their own. So when his own mother needed a kidney, she would not even consider the one her son wanted to give her.
She wouldn't take a kidney from her son?
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Yes.
GRIFFIN: But she would take a kidney from a person she will never know in China?
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Yes. What's wrong with that?
GRIFFIN: It says that the rich person has more of a right to their health and life than a poor person.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): This is reality. This is how it happens.
GRIFFIN: His experience finding a kidney for his mom in China was so easy, he went into the business himself, making $5000 a deal. The new Israeli law, banning brokering of a kidneys has made it trickier, but says if a patient arrives at his door with a donor claiming to be a relative, he can easily send them overseas, no questions asked.
Are they really relatives?
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I don't know. I don't care. I don't deal with that.
GRIFFIN: In Israel, relatives are relatively easy to find, especially when you have poor immigrants arriving in quick need of cash and patients willing to pay. Brokers can have these newly acquainted family members on an operating table anywhere in the world within weeks. Ricki Shai says in the search for a new kidney, her father lost $100,000 of borrowed money, his pride and is now losing his life. His new kidney is failing.
R. SHAI: My family is breaking.
GRIFFIN: The family is breaking, but Shai says she has no doubt the organ broker is still in business.
Drew Griffin, CNN. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Drew Griffin discussed the kidney trade with Israeli prosecutors. That is part of the final segment Drew Griffin's report on organ trafficking that is coming up in a few minutes from now.
WHITFIELD: A look at the top stories, right now. Iran's president says President Barack Obama is making a big mistake about the country's new uranium enrichment facility. Iranian state TV quotes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying the fight was not a secret like Mr. Obama says. Ahmadinejad says Iran told the United Nations about the site even earlier than the U.N. requires.
The Philippines is feeling the wrath of Typhoon Parma. The storm hit a rural fishing area, today, with 92-mile-an-hour winds. At least two people were killed. But officials say they won't know the true extent of the damage until they can reach outlying areas hit hard by the storm.
And a funeral was held today for an honor student beaten to death on the streets of Chicago. Cell phone video capture a group of teenagers kicking and hitting 16-year-old Darrion Robert with railroad ties. Four suspects have been charged with his death.
Chicago's rampant street violence is cited by some city residents as a reason why they should be able to own handguns as a form of protection in their homes. Chicago imposed a ban on handguns and automatic weapons back in 1982. Well now, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to that ban. Otis McDonald is the chief plaintiff in the case. He's joining us now from Chicago.
Good to see you, Mr. McDonald.
OTIS MCDONALD, PLAINTIFF IN CHICAGO GUN RIGHTS CASE: Good evening.
WHITFIELD: Why do you want the right to have a handgun in your home, right now?
MCDONALD: Just because of the fact that it's an inherited right to me that I should be able to own a handgun and like everybody else in this city, we all are under threatened situations nowadays and...
WHITFIELD: So, have you always felt this way or particularly in recent years or recent months?
MCDONALD: In recent years, I have felt that way. But, the second amendment of the constitutional rights was dealt with back in '83 or '82. And, that was wrongly done. That should not have been...
WHITFIELD: So, in '82 -- yes, in '82, the ban on automatic weapons, as well as handguns. You didn't like that decision then?
MCDONALD: No. WHITFIELD: Why is that? Why do you feel that you would feel safer with a gun in your home right now and this is the answer for you?
MCDONALD: Because of the way things has changed. Now days, there's too much violence out there in the world. There's so much violence on all of us, not just myself and not just myself do I do this, do I pursue this...
WHITFIELD: Is it true that -- sorry -- is it true that even in your home there have been several attempted break-ins and that's why you feel uneasy and unsafe and why you want a gun?
MCDONALD: There have been a number of break-ins in my house, at least three. And just a month ago, there was a break-in to my garage. They have that particular person in jail now, we are awaiting trial. But, that, alone, wasn't the deciding factor.
WHITFIELD: Do you worry that by lawfully having guns in the home Macon tribute to the current problem where there are people unlawfully using guns and thereby leading to death and crime?
MCDONALD: No. I think as a matter of fact, I think it would help because if somebody -- if there's a deterring factor, this would be it. If you have a gun in your home, somebody outside would be a little bit reluctant to try to enter to take your belongings, take your life or anything else for that matter. They would think, for instance, that, well, I'm going to come face-to-face with what I've got, then I need to think twice about this.
And this is the intent. This is one of the intents, to deter. I don't want to kill anybody, I don't want to mess up nobody at all. I just -- I just would like to be able to own a gun in my own home since it is my inherited right and I know that it's not a inherited right for people running around out there in the street with all kind of big guns, even little kids. You know? This is not right.
WHITFIELD: Otis McDonald. Thanks so much for your time in Chicago. I know your case which is now reaching the U.S. Supreme Court; arguments could come as early as next year. It was just this past week when we learned the U.S. Supreme court would take on the case. Immediately, can you give me your reaction to hearing that decision?
MCDONALD: I was -- I was so happy. From my heart, I believe that somebody else in the Supreme Court, some people in the Supreme Court has realized and now see that this wrong should be made right. And, I believe it will be, from my heart.
WHITFIELD: Otis McDonald. Thank you so much for your time from Chicago. Appreciate it.
MCDONALD: OK. WHITFIELD: And we'll be talking to Mr. McDonald's attorney in the 4:00 Eastern hour and continuing the conversation ahead for this Chicago case as it makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also at 4:00, overall, the crime in Chicago swirling out of control say some. We're going to be devoting the entire hour to help examine the problem and look toward some of the solutions. "Taking Aim, Chicago Violence." You can be part of the conversation, send your questions and comments to weekends at firstname.lastname@example.org or to my Facebook page at Fredricka Whitfield CNN or perhaps on my blog, cnn.com/newsroom/fredricka. That's 4:00 Eastern Time. We want you to be part of the conversation.
WHITFIELD: A pretty gloomy report on the national job market. Increasing concerns that the recession is far from over. September's jobless numbers were higher than analysts expected. The unemployment rate now stands at 9.8 percent. After more than a quarter of a million jobs were lost last month alone, so far 7.3 million jobs have been lost since the start of the recession.
The big losers last month, construction, 64,000 jobs gone. Manufacturing, 51,000 lost. And 53,000 government positions no longer available.
Joblessness can sometimes turn into homelessness. Many homeless people are finding a temporary haven in tent camps that have sprung up around the country. To find out what it's like, all platform journalist, Patrick Oppmann spent a couple of days at a homeless camp in Seattle.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About 70 people live in this homeless camp. Residents say city shelters too often don't have enough room and city streets are too dangerous.
(on camera): This camp has existed in various locations for over a year. The last time I came and spoke with residents here, they invited me to come and actually live here and experience homelessness through their eyes.
(voice-over): So, I'm going back to live at the camp for two days. Resident Terry Bailey shows me around.
TERRY BAILEY, HOMELESS CAMP RESIDENT: This is our common area out here.
OPPMANN: After losing a job driving trucks, Bailey came with his wife and two sons to find work in Seattle. Life is far from easy, he says, but as good as it gets when you don't have a home.
BAILEY: We can live in the community of people that are like, you know, in the same situation as we are and still sleep at night. That's the biggest thing, I'll you is safety at light. You just don't know what the street has to offer.
OPPMANN (on camera): Many people living here say they prefer life in this camp to a shelter because they can come and go as they please. They can look for work during the day and know their things are safe here., which makes finding a job much easier.
I'm finding the most difficult thing in this camp right now is setting up my tent, actually, this is not as easy as it looks.
(voice-over): The camp has rules, no drugs or alcohol. But, its future is in doubt. Signs posted around the camp tell residents they are trespassing. The constant moves, residents say, makes a hard life even more so.
GREGORY LEWIS, HOMELESS CAMP RESIDENT: When you get something established and set up, you don't want to find out 30 days to 90 days later that you have to move. And that's what we have to deal with.
OPPMANN (on camera): People ended up here because of the bad economy and bad luck. Joshua and Amanda Stanton (ph) hope to get a roof over their heads before their first baby is born.
AMANDA STANTON, HOMELESS CAMP RESIDENT: I'm five and a half months. I'm due in January. I've go moments that I'm scared because like, you know, I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. I mean, I don't know if something is going to happen.
OPPMANN (voice-over): At dark, residents go back to their tents at night.
(on camera): So, everyone at the camp is going to bed. I'm actually in my tent and you can hear trains going by, cars going by, so I just don't think I'm going to sleep that well tonight.
(voice-over): At dawn, the camp stirs. I prepare to leave. But, it's been just a taste of what the residents face every day.
BAILEY: You know, in the back of your mind you have a home to go to when you leave here. When I walk out that gate, this is the only place I have to come back to. And it makes a serious change in how you feel.
OPPMANN: As I go, I'm already thinking about the hot shower, real bed and decent cup of coffee waiting for me. For the people here, there are none of those luxuries, only another day of hoping for something better.
WHITFIELD: Wow, those are powerful images and the story. So, let's turn now to lattes, mochas and frappachinos, a turn, but bare with me. Starbucks is the place many of you satisfy your cravings. Ever wonder why so many people seem to be drinking their coffee alone while glued to their laptop there? Why no stimulating conversation in those people nearby? Well, the author of "Everything but Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks" has some answers. He's spent the last few years figuring out why people behave the way they do when they go to Starbucks. Bryant Simon joins me now from Philadelphia.
Good to see you.
BRYANT SIMON, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: You're a history professor at Temple University. This must have been one incredible history lesson for you in terms of the people's patterns. Why they go to Starbucks and why they not only drink coffee nosh a little bit, but they usually like to stay alone. They don't want to be bothered. Why did this fascinate you?
SIMON: Well, I was really interested in the question of community in America and a sense of belonging in America and people's reports that they found that missing in their lives. And so, I actually started this on a new year's day at a Starbucks in Atlanta and all these people were coming in and talking to the baristas and they seemed to have this sense of community, so I wanted to pursue if it was a place where it was happening.
WHITFIELD: And what did you discover. You went to, did I get this number right -- 425 Starbucks in nine countries and did you find similar behaviors or was it a little different in America versus abroad?
SIMON: Yeah. Well, in the U.S. it was somewhat different and I think in part why we went looking for community was because we didn't have it, but we had lost our skills and community making to a certain extent. And so, when we wanted that, we didn't really know how to do it and we found ourselves at Starbucks sitting alone. The one thing we did get at Starbucks was lots of conversations from the Baristas, themselves. They were in a way coached to talk to the customers.
WHITFIELD: So, why Starbucks? Why not all the other little cafes and coffee clutches across the world. You know, why was it that you wanted to zero in on Starbucks?
SIMON: Well, it was the big one, right, and it was the place where many of us were turning to to find that sense of community. And Starbucks also advertised itself as a place community was made. They used this phrase that they would become the third place in America borrowing it from another sociologist.
WHITFIELD: OK, and you know, of course Starbucks, they didn't like the idea that their name Starbucks was used in your book in the premise of you know, this whole study of community relations, so I have a statement from Starbucks. So, I got to read it for you. And it says:
"We are aware of Professor Simon's book and we are not sure that we agree with its premise. Our experience is that Starbucks has been and will continue to be a place where communities gather. We do agree with the professor that public dialogue is an essential part of increasing civic engagement. We are proud to serve as a gathering place and catalyst for change in our local and virtual communities. Our partners, including employees and customers get involved in their communities in a variety of ways in cities across the globe." So, I guess, you know, this kind of precipitates the question of why should we expect that Starbucks or places like it are supposed to be responsible in which to help communities get together or a place for people to be more social? Why can't it just simply be a business?
SIMON: No, that's a fair question, but Starbucks actually promises to create that community. So, it's not that we...
WHITFIELD: Did it mean that in the sense of helping to employ people, helping to revitalize a community? It is a place where people go to get something that they want and need -- coffee and food.
SIMON: Yeah, no doubt about that, but they actually constantly invoke the kind of image of the old coffeehouse in order to sell coffee and that coffeehouse was often referred to as a penny university and it was meant to be a place of free and open exchange, and in some ways Starbucks, I'm not saying that there are no Starbucks where there isn't community and people aren't making connections, but I also think there are ways in which some of the aspects of how Starbucks is set up, and other coffee shops as well, cut against that notion.
WHITFIELD: So, is the study kind of less about the whole bit about community and more so a stab at Starbucks, because they are the big kahuna?
SIMON: No, no, it's not meant to be a stab. It's meant to be under the fundamental premise that what we buy has meaning and it's particularly interesting when we overpay for things, and we used to pay $1.00 for a cup of coffee and now we pay $4.00. And I, you know, I thought that that would reveal and it does reveal something about what we care about and desire in America, and whether, in fact, those desires get fulfilled.
WHITFIELD: Where do you get your coffee?
SIMON: I get it at a local place around the corner from my house.
WHITFIELD: A little bit more social, huh?
WHITFIELD: All right, Bryant Simon, thanks so much. The book is "Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks." Thanks so much for your time from Philadelphia.
SIMON: Thanks for having me, thanks.
WHITFIELD: All right, earlier this hour, we saw a report about kidney trafficking, and an arrest in New York, and we followed the trail all the way to Israel. So, straight ahead, CNN's Drew Griffin meets a victim and talks to the prosecutors.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: So, earlier in the hour we saw Drew Griffin's report on kidney trafficking in Israel. One expert told us that Israel is ground zero for organ transactions, many of them illegal. Brokers take advantage of desperate people, both those who need kidneys and those who need the money. In his final report, Drew Griffin tells us what Israeli prosecutors are doing to end this practice.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was centered in northern Israel, where prosecutors allege a broker and a doctor treated the harvesting of kidneys like picking parts from used cars.
GILAD EHRLICH, ASST DISTRICT ATTY: The object was the kidney. In order to get the object, you needed the person, and you would traffic him in order to do that.
GRIFFIN: Gilad Ehrlich is one of the prosecutors who was able to shut down essentially a human trafficking ring that sent both Israeli patients, all Jews, and their Israeli donors, all Arabs, to the Ukraine, where an Israeli doctor would perform the surgery. The broker is in prison, the doctor, in the Ukraine avoiding prosecution.
The allegation: that they preyed on illiterate, poor and desperate people for one purpose, to get their kidneys.
(on camera): Basically, these two men were trafficking humans like used cars and using those cars, those people, for their spare parts.
EHRLICH: Yes, exactly. And once the kidney was gone, so did the responsibility. No medical care. No one took care of them. As I mentioned before, we had one victim that took out by himself his own stitches with a kitchen knife.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The other prosecutor in this case, Bassam Kandaloff (ph), says the victims were lured in by newspaper ads like this one, published two years ago.
(on camera): The ads were placed in Arabic-speaking newspapers, targeting people like those who live in this very village in the north of Israel. Unemployment here is extremely high. The education level is low. The perfect place to find people desperate to sell just about anything, including their kidneys.
He's taking us to Kaffirmanda (ph), this is the village where a teenager was talked into -- duped, really -- into giving a kidney to somebody in the Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the neighbors, they don't know.
GRIFFIN: They don't know yet what happened.
(voice-over): This is one of those victims. Kandaloff (ph) says he's embarrassed, still hurting. And once inside away from the neighbors, he showed us the awful reminder of what happened.
(on camera): And he still is tired, still is weak?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He feels like he's a -- to say these words, half person, half human being.
GRIFFIN: He's a half human being.
(voice-over): He was promised $7,000 for his kidney. He was given roughly half. Then the broker began deducting expenses, meals he was given and lodging. In the end, he sold his kidney, he says, for nearly nothing. Prosecutors say the ring preyed on people just like this man, illiterate, destitute, one victim a single divorced woman living in a Muslim culture.
EHRLICH: But when you're illiterate, and you have two kids, and you are divorced, and you're coming from a very, very poor family in a very, very poor village, in the end, you're the best prey.
GRIFFIN: Prosecutors won their convictions on evidence from just five cases. But they believe the ring has been going on perhaps for years. Its victims now too scared, too ashamed to admit they bear the scar of organ trafficking.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Nazareth.