Where does Iran’s law for no child labor below 15 exist?
Elham Eftekhari, a member of Tehran’s City Council, was quoted by the state-run ILNA news agency on May saying “Obvious grounds in the municipality facilitate exist of children exploitation in difficult jobs mostly collecting waste.”
She described how municipality contractors use children as cheap workforce in garbage dumps for salvage and recycling “These children not only work but also live and sleep in garbage factories that are filled with vermin and odors. We are well aware of the dangers these children face besides the hygienic aspect such as the risks of mental, physical and sexual torment.”
Dr. Minou Mohraz, Head of the AIDs Research Center of Iran, declared “The rate of HIV infection among Iran child laborers and street children is 45 times higher than the average.” They also suffer from malnutrition, shortness, low weight, skin diseases and psychological disorders. Many such children work at least 6 hours a day and don’t eat even a single decent meal, putting them at greater health risks.
A teacher from Yazd commented “At the end of each year I witness the hiring of young students by contractor firms. They only seek to raise their own profits by taking advantage of these children. The majority of the children and young students in our city have very poor families whose wages are below the poverty line and they are forced into these kinds of jobs. They are forced to spend their precious childhood in the polluted streets and freeways.” (The state-run ILNA news agency – April 7, 2018)
Iranian society is all too familiar with images of child laborers. Children are frequently seen working as vendors, cleaning car windscreens, or working on farms and in factories. Most of them have dropped out of school.
Under Iran’s laws, children under 15 are not allowed to work and no child can be employed in a hazardous job that poses a risk to his/her health or life. The law also sets special conditions for the work of children aged 15 to 18 years, however they are ignored by government institutions.
The main reason driving child labor rates is extreme poverty, resulting in 40 years of destructive economic policies. According to the latest statistics provided by experts on urban economics, some seven million children are coerced to join the workforce at an early age.