Child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives them of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labor. Exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by indigenous children in the Americas.
Some experts in urban economics estimate that there are between three and seven million labor children in Iran. Government statistics show around 20,000 such labor children in Tehran alone. Nevertheless, because of the fact that most of these children do not have any documented paper, there is no accurate number of them. An official in Iran’s Welfare Organization announced that during the first six months of the year 2018, nearly 8,500 street children were identified in Iran. With increasing economic pressures on people, especially the poor sector of the society, we are seeing an increase in the number of child labor in Iran every day. Half of these children usually work in the streets and half in the workshops. These children face a lot of harm and dangers in the community. In this article, I am going to consider the harm and dangers that these children are faced with in society as well as the functions of the Islamic Republic of Iran with regard to these problems.
Video Below shows us the history of the Iranian Regime and its cruelness against children!
Child labor phenomena was created by some factors such as economic poverty, immigration from a city to another one and slum-dwelling, contaminated and damaged slum-dwelling, lifestyle contradiction before and after immigration, disorientation of social institutions such as family and school, and a lack of adequate supervision by the responsible organizations. As such, child labor is one of the greatest concern in large cities.
The street children in Iran face social problems. The first factor that forces these children to take to the streets is that they suffer from extreme poverty, and these children are considered the source of their family’s income. However, working will eliminate the biological needs and social rights of these children as well as depriving them of their education. There are 327,000 children who are deprived of education in Tehran only. The deprivation of education, forced labor, and child abuse are just part of the hardships these children suffer in Iran. Children of labor are typically between 7 to 18 years old and work in shops and streets instead of going to schools and having a bright future. Future is meaningless for them and their illiteracy pushes them towards crime, addiction and a dark future in prisons and even worse. Until now, the Islamic Republic’s decision to collect labor children and force them to study has been fruitless. That is because these children are forced to work under the pressure of family poverty or due to their families’ addiction. These children and their families are not even able to obtain their daily food, and they have to work hard to fulfill this basic need.
Street children run a high risk of physical and psychological damage because they are always in the streets and there is no parental control over them. Children of labor are usually abandoned by their families due to economic hardship and are sometimes bought and sold as a commodity by the mafia gangs who exploit them. These children are generally the victims of exploitation and sexual harassment. 90 percent of these children are raped. They are deceived and raped by passersby, addicted people and sometimes even city hall employees. Occasionally, this can lead to the child’s death, early pregnancy, and 4-5% infection of children with HIV. In addition, the children who have been sexually abused can suffer from a number of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, and short-term and long-term sexual dysfunction.
Child labor is exploited by various types of criminal gangs, such as drug trafficking bands and body-member sellers. Exploitation of children in drug-running operations has increased the number of addicted children. There are no precise statistics of the children who become addicted. Additionally, these children disappear in many cases and their organs are smuggled, and after sometime the corpses or dismembered bodies of them are found in deserts.
Children of labor are exposed to many diseases. More than 80% of these children are somehow infected with an infectious disease. These children are exposed to diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis due to exposure to contaminated syringes in waste containers. In addition, these children are prone to gastrointestinal poisoning, including salmonella poisoning, due to their lack of proper nutrition. These children do not eat enough dairy products, so they experience a chronic shortage of vitamin D. Therefore, they are at risk of contracting diseases such as rickets, fractures, and osteoporosis.
To sum up, what was mentioned above is only a small portion of the problem of child labor in Iran. The Islamic Republic has neglected these problems so far and attributed the reason for the increase in the number of labor children to smuggling and even the immigration of foreigners, including Afghan and Pakistani immigrants. The regime has tried – and failed – all the violent solutions to collect and organize children of labor, including arresting and transferring them to special camps. In contrast to what the Islamic Republic claims, most of these children are Iranian and were born and raised in slums across the country. These children often live in the areas that are immersed in deep social problems such as smuggling, addiction, and prostitution. Children of labor are primarily the victims of economic, social and cultural poverty. Therefore, the best and most practical way to deal with the phenomenon of child labor is through cultural and social methods.