The number of children deprived of their basic rights is on the rise in Iran. These children fall victim to the interests of Iran’s political factions and due to increasing poverty, are forced to abandon school and their childhood and enter the labor market at a very young age.
Many of Iran’s child laborers play a key role in providing for their families.
According to unofficial statistics, there are 7 million child laborers in Iran. Many of them work in small workshops that were exempted from Iran’s Labor Laws in the 90’s with no surveillance on their dire work conditions.
The number of Iran’s child laborers who work at these workshops remains unknown.
According to an Iranian children’s rights organization, one of the reasons behind this social catastrophe is privatization and the monopoly of wealth and power in Iran.
“Privatization has always been accompanied by putting a price on once complimentary public services such as education and health,” the Society to Aid Children At Risk said in a statement published by the state-run ILNA news agency.
The children’s rights group said that children were the most damaged from privatization.
“Not receiving a few months of wages is not just a simple payment delay, but the massacre of a family and the community,” the Society to Aid Children at Risk said in reference to privatized companies like the Iran National Steel Group, whose workers have months of unpaid wages.
The Iranian government’s privatization policies has also led to recent labor protests in Iran.
Workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory in Shush and the Ahvaz National Steel Group went on strike and rallied for over a month in the southern province of Khuzestan in protest to privatization policies which saw the ruin of both companies.
The children’s rights group also criticized the government for not supporting workers’ families.
“The lack of support for the families of workers, who suffer from difficult circumstances, low pay or are on the verge of unemployment, puts their children in harm’s way including deprivation, poverty, addiction, illness, malnutrition, prostitution, delinquency, forced labor, work on the streets or other dangerous places, and the early marriage of girls,” the group said in its statement adding that it was the government’s responsibility to put an end to the privatization of public and national capital so that more children were not deprived of their rights in Iran.