A human hand and three placentas were sent from a university in Brazil, destined for an unorthodox fashion designer in Singapore, in an alleged human organ trafficking case, according to Brazilian Federal Police.
The hand and placentas were plastinated, a common preservation method for museums and research, before being shipped from Amazonas State University (UEA) in Manaus, Brazil. Police then carried out an anti-trafficking raid after receiving reports of possible trafficking in human remains, and a professor in the school’s anatomy lab was suspended. If found guilty of international trafficking in human organs, he faces up to 8 years in prison.
“According to investigations, the defendants are sending plastinated human organs to Singapore. Plastination is a modern technical process for the preservation of biological material, which essentially consists of eliminating bodily fluids (water and fixing solutions) and fats, by chemical methods, replacing them with plastic resins such as silicone, polyester and epoxy, which gives a dry, odorless and durable result. tissues,” Brazilian Federal Police said in a statement.
It is believed that the remains were to be used by a famous Indonesian fashion designer to make “accessories/clothing with human material”. Designer, Arnold Putra, has come under fire in the past for ‘designer’ accessories made from human remains after creating a bag made from ‘ethically sourced human spines and alligator tongues’, with some outlets reporting that the spine was of a child. Putra claimed he had paperwork showing the parts were from a medical surplus in Canada.
According to comments from a Brazilian federal police officer on a secure line with Vice, the remains had already left Brazilian borders and it is not known if they have ever been intercepted.