By Staff Writer
Since 2000, the world’s child labour rate has dropped by a third, but there are still many countries where child labour is a serious problem.
One of these countries is Iran, where poverty imposed by 40 years of the Regime’s corruption mean that many parents are sending children out to work before they turn five in order to keep the family afloat. Some even sell their children. As you might expect, this horrific situation subjects the children to years of abuse and violence.
Tahereh Pazhuhesh, Vice-President of the Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights, said: “Despite the global reduction in the child labour statistics, we see child labour surge in Iran.”
The global rate of child labour has decreased, but in Iran its rising. It is common to see children in sweatshops, markets, farms, factories, or even on the sides of roads cleaning windscreens. Most of them have been forced to drop out of school.
Legally, children under 15 are not allowed to work in Iran and there are special conditions surrounding the types of job that those under 18 can do. For instance, no child can be employed in a job that poses a hazard to their health. But these laws are ignored by Iranian government institutions.
That’s why Iran Human Rights Monitor created a report into child labourers in Iran for the World Day against Child Labour (June 12). The report is worth reading in full, but we’ll summarise the main points here.
Some quick facts about Iranian child labourers
• Seven million Iranian children are forced into work before they are legally able to
• 30% of these children don’t go to school
• 31% are aged between six and 11
• 9% are under six years old
• 60% are the only source of income for their family
• 90% have been sexually assaulted
• 45% suffers from illnesses or other ailments like AIDS, hepatitis, malnutrition, shortness, low weight, skin diseases and psychological disorders
• Many of these have been caused, or at least exacerbated, by their jobs
• Most work at least six hours per day
• Hundreds have been forced to work as drug traffickers
• Child panhandlers are often intentionally disfigured to get them more money
• Many are killed for their organs
• Few have access to medical care
Please note: The majority of these figures are gathered from the Regime and likely underestimate the scale of the problem.
Regime hires child labourers
As noted above, many of Iran’s state institutions use child labour, with contractors routinely hiring children as young as five for jobs like waste management. Why? Because they can pay them 70% less than adult workers and children are mostly unaware of their rights as humans and as workers, so they are easier to exploit.
Elham Eftekhari, a member of Tehran’s City Council, had admitted that contractors are doing this and has described the vile conditions that the children are working in.
She said: “These children not only work, but also live and sleep in garbage factories that are filled with vermin and odours; and we are well aware of the dangers these children face besides the hygienic aspect; such as the risks of mental, physical and sexual torment…”
The children often work long shifts, sometimes 19 hours with no breaks, which is not something that any adult should do, let alone a child.
One teacher reported that they saw young and poor students hired by contractor firms every year, in an effort by the bosses to raise their profits.
Still the Regime spends its money on the military or its propaganda networks rather than help these children. The only way to solve this problem, as will all problems caused by the Regime is through regime change.
The Iranian people are calling out for regime change and it will be the main topic of discussion at the Free Iran Grand Gathering in Paris on June 30.