By Pooya Stone

Iranian women and girls are being systematically trafficked to other countries by criminal gangs with state officials providing immunity or outright taking part.

This was basically admitted to in 2018 by Hamideh Zarabadi, a member of the Women’s Faction in the regime’s Parliament.

Zarabadi said: “Unofficial statistics show that women’s trafficking also occurs in our country. Reports indicate that most of this smuggling takes place in Arab countries. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this phenomenon are not dealt with decisively and there is a greater tendency to deny it.”

Following this, the US State Department again designated Iran a Tier 3 country, the lowest ranking possible, in its 2019 “Trafficking in Persons Report”.

The report read: “The Government of Iran does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore, Iran remained on Tier 3.”

It further spoke about the immunity enjoyed by human trafficking networks in Iran

The report continued: “The government failed to prevent trafficking. The government’s persistent lack of efforts to prevent official complicity in trafficking crimes further exacerbated trafficking in the country and the region. Furthermore, the government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in Iran or child sex tourism by Iranian citizens traveling abroad; on the contrary, Iranian officials were reportedly actively involved in the promotion of commercial sex, including cases of sex trafficking… Official government involvement in trafficking crimes and authorities’ abuse of trafficking victims continued unabated.”

Then, the report said that the regime “did not report anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, and officials continued to perpetuate trafficking crimes with impunity, including sex trafficking of adults and children”.

The fact that trafficking is common in Iran is because the regime accepts child marriages, prostitution, and young concubines, phenomena that are occurring because of high levels of poverty.

In 2019, Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi, Deputy Chairperson of the Women’s Faction in the regime’s Parliament, said: “Wealthy people build villas. Because of their financial means, they hire and trade young children and girls. Some force their daughters into temporary marriages with very old people due to economic poverty and to get Shirbaha [a type of dowry] from the groom to be able to manage their lives with it.”

Later that year, the state-run Jam-e Jam newspaper spoke about young women aged 18 to 28 who are trafficked in the Middle East, Europe, and the US, while the Rokna state-run website reported that young girls are sold to Arab men for $100 a night. Didarnews reports that the rates of trafficking are higher than in any other country and noted that most of the money the girls earn goes straight to their traffickers.

 

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