Iran Focus: London, Jun. 12 – The U.S. State Department accused Iran on Tuesday of being a major hub of human trafficking. Iran Focus
London, Jun. 12 – The U.S. State Department accused Iran on Tuesday of being a major hub of human trafficking.
The State Department 2007 annual Trafficking in Persons Report listed Iran alongside Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Sudan, Bahrain, Oman, Syria, Burma, Kuwait, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela as the worse offenders.
Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude, the report said.
Iranian women are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced prostitution and forced marriages to settle debts. Children are trafficked internally and from Afghanistan for the purpose of forced marriages, commercial sexual exploitation, and involuntary servitude as beggars or laborers.
According to nongovernmental sources, Iranian women and girls are also trafficked to Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for commercial sexual exploitation. Media sources reported that 54 Iranian females between the ages of 16 and 25 are sold into commercial sexual exploitation in Pakistan every day.
The Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Credible reports indicate that Iranian authorities commonly punish victims of trafficking with beatings, imprisonment, and execution.
Sources report that the Iranian government fails to meet the minimum standards for protection of victims of trafficking by prosecuting and, in some cases, executing victims for morality-based offenses as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Iran did not improve its protection of trafficking victims this year. The government reportedly punishes victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; for instance, victims reportedly are arrested and punished for violations of morality standards such as adultery, defined as sexual relations outside of marriage. Although it is unclear how many victims are subjected to punishment for acts committed as a result of their trafficking experience, there were reports that child victims of sex trafficking have been executed for their purported crime of prostitution or adultery.
The government runs 28 health houses set up by the state-operated Welfare Association to provide assistance to unmarried girls who have run away from their homes and who are at risk of being trafficked. However, girls reportedly are abused in these shelters, even by shelter staff and other government officials. The Government of Iran should take immediate and significant steps to prevent the punishment of trafficking victims and should improve the protection services available to victims, the report said.