Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Iran

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Iran, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
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 2)

Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Women and girls are trafficked to Pakistan, Turkey, and France for sexual exploitation. Boys from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are trafficked through Iran to the Gulf States where they are forced to work as camel jockeys, beggars, or laborers. Afghan women and girls are trafficked to Iran for sexual exploitation and forced marriage. Internal trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and children for forced labor also takes place. The internal trafficking of women and children is fueled by an increasing number of vulnerable groups, such as runaway women, street children and drug addicts.

The Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Iran is included in the report for the first time due to more and specific information indicating that it is a source, transit, and destination country for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. Iran must take steps to ensure that those who are punished for trafficking are not victims, and that victims are provided appropriate shelter. The government should also train police in the identification and protection of victims. It should also support public awareness campaigns in the fight against trafficking.


Iran's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remain strong. Iranian law does not specifically prohibit trafficking of adults, although the sale and trafficking of children is a criminal offense under Iran's Penal Code. Other statutes are also used to prosecute traffickers. In April, an Iranian court sentenced 27 people to prison terms ranging from 14 months to 10 years for the trafficking of young girls for sexual exploitation to the United Arab Emirates. In June, 53 Afghan refugee tribesmen were sentenced to a total of 281 years in prison, 222 lashes, and fines for luring girls with marriage offers and then trafficking them to Pakistan for forced prostitution. In August, approximately 400 female police officers graduated, the first since the Islamic Revolution. The female police officers work specifically on crimes against women, including trafficking and sexual exploitation cases.


Prostitution is strictly illegal in Iran and subject to harsh punishments. It is unclear if the government makes efforts to distinguish trafficking victims from others engaged in prostitution. The State Welfare Organization for Social Affairs assists victims and those at risk of trafficking through five mobile and 44 fixed social emergency centers. These centers provide counseling, legal services, and health care. The State Welfare Organization also manages 14 temporary shelters for "troubled women" and 28 facilities for young runaway girls. These facilities are available to trafficking victims.


The State Welfare Organization allocates modest funds to support 41 countrywide centers for street children that deliver care to approximately 10,000 children at risk for exploitation. It is estimated that there are approximately 1.2 million street children in Iran as well as 420,000 child laborers under the age of 15.

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