Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 12:25 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Iran

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Iran, 4 June 2008, available at: [accessed 1 June 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 3)

Iran is a source, transit, and destination for women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Iranian women are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced prostitution and for forced marriages to settle debts. Iranian children are trafficked internally and Afghan children are trafficked to Iran 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.

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. 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. Iran did not provide evidence of law enforcement activities against trafficking, and credible reports indicate that Iranian authorities punish victims of trafficking with beatings, imprisonment, and execution.

Recommendations for Iran: Significantly increase law enforcement against traffickers; institute a victim identification procedure to systematically identify and protect victims of trafficking, particularly among groups such as women arrested for prostitution; and cease punishing victims of trafficking.


There is no evidence to indicate that Iran made significant progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking crimes this year. The government reportedly prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2004 Law on Combating Human Trafficking, which appears to prescribe severe penalties, often including death sentences for convicted traffickers. Nonetheless, the government did not publicize evidence of enforcing this law during the reporting year through arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences. Previous reports have indicated that border officials may be complicit in trafficking offenses; however, Iran did not report any disciplinary action taken against government officials believed to facilitate trafficking.


There were no reported efforts by the Government of Iran to 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. It is unknown how many victims may have been subjected to punishment during the reporting period for such acts committed as a result of their trafficking experience. Foreign victims of trafficking do not have a legal alternative to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Previous reports indicate that the government does not encourage victims to assist law enforcement authorities as they investigate and prosecute their trafficking cases.


There were no reports of any advances in trafficking prevention measures by the Government of Iran during the reporting year. There were similarly no reports of measures taken by the government during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, or of any public awareness campaigns targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad. It is recommended that Iran improve its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons by monitoring travel of Iranian women and girls to Middle Eastern countries where they are commonly trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Iran has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

Iran tier ranking by year

Search Refworld