Human blood is mainly composed of plasma and blood cells. Plasma is the blood component after removing blood cells from whole blood. Unlike the red color of whole blood, plasma is a light yellow liquid.
This is a “plasma donation center” located in El Paso, a city on the southern border of Texas, USA. “A little time”, “gain income”, “get up to $800 a month”… the advertisement words on the outer wall are impressively eye-catching. Why is the center called “Donation” marked with attractive prices everywhere? Why are these “plasma donation centers” opened on the US-Mexico border? Who are the main “customers” who come to these places? What kind of huge industry is this?
There is an endless stream of “blood sellers” on the US-Mexico border
El Paso, a border city in the southern part of Texas, is separated by the Rio Grande River from Juarez, a border city in Mexico. There are a large number of vehicles and people going back and forth between the two places every day. In the small city of El Paso, there are more than 10 plasma donation centers, which have become an important place for an endless stream of Mexicans to earn living income.
reporter:How can I donate plasma?
Blood bank staff:Have a social security card, ID card, and proof of address in Texas. If you are a Mexican, you only need to have an ID (passport) and proof of your address in Mexico.
In the plasma donation center, there are already many people waiting in line, and many of them are fixed “donors” who come regularly. According to the staff, as long as you bring your ID card, complete a simple physical examination, and ask some health questions, you can complete the first plasma “donation” immediately on the same day.
CCTV reporter Liu Xu:Behind me is the largest chain plasma donation center in the United States, which is only one or two kilometers away from the border between the United States and Mexico. Most of the people who donate plasma here every day are Mexicans who can only speak Spanish. Many people couldn’t even wait for the opportunity of the day, so they had to queue up early the next morning, waiting for the opportunity to donate plasma.
The home of Azalia, a Mexican, is in Juarez, a city on the other side of the border. Today, her mother accompanied her and her sister to donate plasma, but because they did not have a new donation quota, they planned to donate at six or seven the next morning. Just pass the customs, and then wait in line for “donation”.
Mexican Azalia:I can get some money by donating plasma, because life in Juarez is very difficult and the income is very low, and donating plasma here is an opportunity to increase income. If you come to donate plasma, you can only donate twice a week. Here, you can give me $75 (about 534 yuan) for each donation, and you can donate twice a week.
Asalia said that if you want to become a plasma donor, you only need to fill in a lot of information when you register for the first time, but it is basically a simple health problem. After that, each donation is very simple and can be completed in more than an hour. Such a shortcut to making money made her choose to bring her sister to sell plasma together.
Azalia’s mother also supports her child’s plasma donation, but these ordinary donors may not know the safety of the donation process and whether there will be potential health problems.
Azalia’s mom, Dora Rojas:Living in Juarez, Mexico is really difficult for young people like my daughter, and working there does not make much money, so when my daughter chooses to donate plasma here in the United States, I support her.
Crazy blood-sucking US-Mexico border reduced to a blood factory
Why can these Mexicans easily pass through customs and enter the United States? The sale of plasma was banned in Mexico as early as 1987. In order to meet the huge market demand for plasma, what methods did the United States use to trick its neighbors in the south?
In order to attract a large number of Mexicans to cross the border to the United States to sell plasma. Large American plasma companies have accurately placed a series of advertisements on social media. The more times they sell plasma in a row, the more rewards they get. These companies are ingenious. Plasma sellers can also invite friends and family to join in selling plasma, and get extra rewards.
In order to make it easier for Mexicans to sell plasma across the border, the plasma company also provides bus pick-up and drop-off services for Mexicans, and the bus is equipped with a Spanish translator for communication. The U.S. immigration law has clearly stipulated that persons holding temporary visas are prohibited from living or engaging in paid work in the U.S. Violators of the regulations may be punished or even confiscated. Behind this is actually the deliberate “release” of the US Immigration Service.
U.S. Customs and Border Administration staff:As long as people in transit prove that they have a reason to return to Mexico and that they have a home and a life in Mexico, they can enter the United States.
Customs officers:What do you do? What do you live on?
44-year-old gym owner Gamaril:I have a gym and a foreign company.
Plasma Company Advice to “Cross the Sea” for Blood Sellers
Many plasma companies tell those who sell plasma not to disclose the real purpose of the plasma to the customs officers.
Former American Plasma employees:When I was an employee of a plasma company, I would tell the plasma seller not to tell the customs that you were going to sell plasma, but to tell him that you were going to your aunt’s house, or your cousin’s house, or that you were going shopping.
All the convenient conditions that are “avoided and not discussed” are only for obtaining more blood sources, and the blood collection efficiency of the blood stations on the US-Mexico border is far better than that of other places. According to a survey by German media, about 10,000 Mexicans go to the United States to sell blood every week, and blood banks in border areas collect twice as much blood as blood banks in other parts of the United States. Mexican citizens account for 60% to 90% of the daily blood donating citizens of some major American plasma companies.
Former American Plasma employees:The company’s blood plasma collection station on the US-Mexico border, I’m pretty sure 100%, but it’s conservative to say that 99% of the blood suppliers come from Mexico.
Former American Plasma employees:These blood plasma companies with stations on the U.S.-Mexico border, they know that the residents need money, and they take advantage of that.
Although the U.S. immigration law previously prohibited Mexicans holding temporary visas from entering the U.S. on the grounds of selling blood to make money, the U.S. finally opened its doors completely in the face of such a huge supply of blood plasma and huge profits.
Mexican girl frequently sells plasma body to pay price
Janice, a 21-year-old Mexican girl, said that she followed in her father’s footsteps and crossed the border twice a week to Texas to sell plasma in the past three years. In order to become a regular source of income, she paid the price of her body.
Mexican girl Janice:My arms and legs would go numb, my eyes would start to go black, I felt like I was going to pass out, I always felt like I was having a migraine. Sometimes the blood bank staff will check if you are unwell, but that’s all, they don’t pay much attention to the blood sellers. I felt like a guinea pig, like livestock, more of a commodity to them than a patient or a donor.
German medical experts:Many plasma donors do not know the risks of long-term blood draws. It will reduce your hemoglobin and resistance, and if you sell plasma frequently, your body will become weaker and weaker if you cannot recover. However, many blood bank staff will not tell you this.