The U.S. State Department on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, released its report on Trafficking in Persons.
According to this report, “Some Iranian women, who seek employment to support their families in Iran, are vulnerable to sex trafficking. Iranian girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are targeted by traffickers for sale abroad.”
The annual TiP report ranks countries in a three-tier system on their effectiveness in tackling human trafficking and other forms of slavery. It placed Iran on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor.
The report said 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.”
TIP report added, “Public information from NGOs, the media, and international organizations indicate the government did not take significant steps to address its extensive trafficking problem. Trafficking victims remained highly vulnerable to punishment, including death, for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking. Allegations continued that Iranian officials coerced Afghan men into combat roles in Syria, and the Iranian government provided financial support to militias fighting in Iraq that recruited and used child soldiers.”
The report highlights Iranian officials’ involvement in human trafficking. “The government did not report anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and officials continued to be complicit in trafficking crimes.”
On the women who are victims of human trafficking in Iran, the TIP wrote, “Some Iranian women, who seek employment to support their families in Iran, are vulnerable to sex trafficking. Iranian girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are targeted by traffickers for sale abroad; younger girls may be forced into domestic service until their traffickers consider them old enough to be subjected to child sex trafficking. In 2016, there was a reported increase in young Iranian women in prostitution in Dubai; some of these women may be trafficking victims. From 2009-2015, the transport of girls from and through Iran en route to other Persian Gulf states for sexual exploitation reportedly increased. Iranian girls were subjected to sex trafficking in brothels in the IKR, especially Sulaimaniya; in some cases this exploitation was facilitated by Iranian trafficking networks. In 2015, the media reported Kurdistan Regional Government officials were among the clients of these brothels. In Tehran, Tabriz, and Astara, the number of teenage girls exploited in sex trafficking reportedly continues to increase. “Temporary” or “short-term” marriages lasting from one hour to one week—for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation—are reportedly increasing in Iran. Trafficking rings reportedly use Shiraz, Iran, as a transit point to bring ethnic Azeri girls from Azerbaijan to the UAE for commercial sexual exploitation. Street children in Iran are highly vulnerable to trafficking. Organized criminal groups kidnap or purchase and force Iranian and migrant children, especially Afghan refugee children, to work as beggars and street vendors in cities, including Tehran. These children, who may be as young as three years old, are coerced through physical and sexual abuse and drug addiction.”