Last Updated: Thursday, 26 November 2015, 08:53 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Iran

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Iran, 12 June 2007, available at: [accessed 26 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Iran (Tier 3)

Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude.

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 non-governmental 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. Lack of access to Iran by U. S. government officials prohibits the collection of full data on the country's human trafficking problem and the government's efforts to curb it. Nonetheless, 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 should take steps to prevent the punishment of trafficking victims, and should articulate a plan of action to punish traffickers and prevent trafficking in persons.


Iran did not make significant progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking crimes over the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2004 Law on Combating Human Trafficking. Penalties assigned under this law are generally severe, often involving death sentences for convicted traffickers. During the reporting period, however, the government did not report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking crimes. Iran similarly did not provide any evidence of law enforcement efforts taken against government officials believed to facilitate trafficking. The government should take steps to significantly increase investigations and prosecutions of trafficking crimes, and to achieve convictions and meaningful sentences in the trafficking prosecutions it initiates.


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. Moreover, the government does not offer trafficking victims legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Similarly, the government does not encourage victims to assist law enforcement authorities in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking cases. 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.


During the year, Iran did not report any advances in its trafficking prevention measures. Iran should improve its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons by significantly improving border security with Pakistan and other neighboring countries to which Iranian women and children are trafficked. Authorities should also improve efforts to monitor travel of Iranian women and girls to Middle Eastern countries where they are commonly trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Finally, the government should institute a public awareness campaign to warn women and children of the dangers of trafficking. Iran has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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