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Scarlet gold
This story is based on real facts

The Facts behind the story: Thousands of liters of blood plasma not screened for disease have been shipped to European, American and Asian laboratories over the past 30 years. Turned into expensive blood products there, they are then sold around the world. Hundreds of trafficking channels take part in this trade. As of now, this black market blood has claimed more than two million victims all over the world.

Scarlet Gold is the second novel of Ludmila Filipova, but its sales success was extremely high for the market. It is an international political thriller that deals with an issue of urgent significance - the trafficking of human blood. The plasma used by pharmaceutical companies in the production of medicine is a raw material, like petroleum, diamonds, or gold. But instead of being mined from the earth, this natural resource is mined from the human vein. Historically, developed countries have exploited and continue to exploit the resources of under-developed countries, and blood is no exception. In her novel Ludmila Filipova focuses on the path of blood from one such third world country, Zimbabwe. She follows the path of blood, as it flows from unsuspecting African blood donors into a dangerous financial game played out in Europe, the Middle East, and North America, between businessmen, mercenaries, and politicians. The monetary stakes are high, and many thousands of lives are put at risk. Ludmilla Filipova’s novel presents a mosaic of characters, across continents and social strata. These “blood relations” form a story of espionage and human frailty.

Scarlet Gold is composed by several parallel plot lines. Korina is one of hundreds of prostitutes in Zimbabwe. She is ready to do anything to feed her son. Vincent Vineger is a former employee of the Austrian medical company “Ablovia” AG, which is under investigation for a serious international scandal. Kiril is an ambitious reporter about to get his first big break. Six Bulgarian medics suddenly find themselves in an Arab prison without any explanation as to why they are being held and are subjected to inhumane physical circumstances. A British diplomat has sabotaged his career and must find a why to redeem himself for the sake of his family. A Libyan police officer sets up the deal of a lifetime in Cairo. 500 milligrams of human blood, infected with the fatal virus of HIV is the single strand which connects the fate of all of these people.

One of the main stories in the novel is based on the personal tragedy of two Bulgarian nurses - Sophia and Darya, who are sisters. They were two of the 23 Bulgarian medics who were taken one night from Benghazi to Arabic prison in Tripoli. Sophia had lack and escaped with several medics. After many difficulties she turned back to Bulgaria. Darya had to stay 8,5 years in the hell of the Arabic dungeon. The author uses the stories of their lives in order to show how Bulgarian medics work and live in Libya and what reasons lead to the HIV epidemic among the children in Benghazi. But they are not the only victims of the enormous epidemic.

Korina’s blood is hardly the only one infected with HIV that pharmaceutical companies transport illegally throughout the world and sell as a high quality medical product.  An English medical company, threatened by financial losses, hires a detective to uncover its competitor’s unbelievably high profits as a result of irresponsible practices.  Parkash Rahmapuri is not incidentally chosen to investigate.  Of Indian decent, he has a personal motive invested to uncover the truth.  The greatest number of victims, infected with HIV and Hepatitis B through blood products, is in China, Africa and India.  Parkash follows the tracks of one of the largest organizations in the business of Scarlet Gold, better known as human African blood.  Despite the intricate web of the organization, he is able to uncover devastating truths about the path which the HIV infected blood has taken. The human blood is transported under the pretense of labels indicating “animal plasma” or “for diagnostic purposes” in order to avoid strict customs control regulation. In this way, tons of well-concealed blood plasma, enter the European Union and are prepared for distribution as a high quality European product.  At nearly 400% profit, the plasma is distributed throughout America, India, China and Europe. Experts estimate that profits from Red Gold reach over 7 million British pounds worldwide.

A few years prior, pressed by shortages in medical supplies, members of the ministry of health in Libya, purchase part of the infected blood plasma of the Austrian company “Ablovia”AG on the black market in Egypt.

The book skillfully intertwines the stories of this tragic incident with the personal struggles of hundreds of innocent people who have become victims of greed worldwide. One such fate is that of the Bulgarian medics and the Palestinian doctor who in 1999 are held with another 80 medical workers without an explanation; the same year that Qaddafi hands over the accused Libyan terrorists to Europe.  In the 8 years that follow, the medics are held in a Libyan prison, forced to endure inhumane circumstances.  They are tried and sentenced tree times to death.  Through their misfortune, Qaddafi finds the perfect opportunity to avenge the difficulties and embarrassments that his country endured with the Lockerbie incident.  

The novel Scarlet Gold stays close to the real events, which are intricately woven together in the story leading to an unexpected ending.  While fiction always finds its own ending, the reality in this case has not.  To this day not one of the traffickers involved has been tried or convicted.  The victims of the infected blood products sold continue to live throughout the world in agony with a sickness that will sooner or later bring them to their fate.
 
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