2005 | Women's Freedom Forum


“In the 21st century we are still witnessing slavery in society, it has changed form and is presented to us through human trafficking and prostitution; a human beings body at the mercy of another, like an object, bought and sold in markets around the world. During the last eight years human trafficking has had a dramatic increase in Iran. According to some estimates there has been a 600 percent increase in prostitution in recent years. The average age of prostitution has dropped to 16 and girls as young as 10 years old are being sold. In many cases which have been reported, government officials are involved in heading prostitution rings and trafficking rings. Most are shocked to hear of these numbers in a state in which is ruled by Islamic fundamentalism. In fact, exploitation of women, and suppression of women are two sides of a coin. Islamic fundamentalism is based on gender discrimination, thus women are treated as second-class citizens and prostitution and trafficking are the modern forms of slavery. In the 2003 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report we were stunned to find that Iran was moved up from tier 3 to tier 2, due to lack of information available to the State Department in this regard. A few professors of women’s studies, which we had been working with, advised us to start an independent research on this issue. With their guidance and help a few of WFF’s researchers, which were fluent in both English and Farsi, began an extensive research by monitoring Iranian media and interviewing Iranians with contacts within the country. During a six-month period we were able to analyze the social circumstances which have led to the growth of trafficking in Iran, its effects on society, and what steps have been taken to counter it. The following is a portion of our analysis and findings.”