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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at


Published Friday, June 11, 2004

WASHINGTON, 11 June (FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE) A measure of Islamic fundamentalists' success in controlling society is the depth and totality with which they suppress the freedom and rights of women. In Iran for 25 years, the ruling mullahs have enforced humiliating and sadistic rules and punishments on women and girls, enslaving them in a gender apartheid system of segregation, forced veiling, second-class status, lashing and stoning to death.

Joining a global trend, the fundamentalists have added another way to dehumanise women and girls: buying and selling them for prostitution. Exact numbers of victims are impossible to obtain, but according to an official source in Tehran, there has been a 635 percent increase in the number of teen-age girls in prostitution. The magnitude of this statistic conveys how rapidly this form of abuse has grown. In Tehran, there are an estimated 84,000 women and girls in prostitution, many of them are on the streets, others are in the 250 brothels that reportedly operate in the city. The trade is also international: Thousands of Iranian women and girls have been sold into sexual slavery abroad.

The head of Iran's Interpol bureau believes that the sex-slave trade is one of the most profitable activities in Iran today. This criminal trade is not conducted outside the knowledge and participation of the ruling fundamentalists. Government officials themselves are involved in buying, selling and sexually abusing women and girls.

Joining a global trend, the fundamentalists have added another way to dehumanise women and girls: buying and selling them for prostitution

Many of the girls come from impoverished rural areas. Drug addiction is epidemic throughout Iran, and some addicted parents sell their children to support their habits. High unemployment -- 28 percent for youth 15 to 29 years of age, and 43 percent for women 15 to 20 years of age -- is a serious factor in driving restless youth to accept risky offers for work. Slave traders take advantage of any opportunity in which women and children are vulnerable. For example, following the recent earthquake in Bam, orphaned girls have been kidnapped and taken to a known slave market in Tehran where Iranian and foreign traders meet.

Popular destinations for victims of the slave trade are the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. According to the head of the Tehran province judiciary, traffickers target girls between 13 and 17, although there are reports of some girls as young as 8 and 10, to send to Arab countries. One ring was discovered after an 18-year-old girl escaped from a basement where a group of girls were held before being sent to Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The number of Iranian women and girls who are deported from Persian Gulf countries indicates the magnitude of the trade. Upon their return to Iran, the Islamic fundamentalists blame the victims, and often physically punish and imprison them. The women are examined to determine if they have engaged in "immoral activity." Based on the findings, officials can ban them from leaving the country again.

According to a report published recently by the Farsi-language Syna internet website, a “sex exhibition and auction” was held in the United Arab Emirate, somewhere between the sheikhdoms of Dubai and Fujairah, producing young Iranian beauties to the potential Arab buyers.

An Iranian pilot working for both an Emirate airline and the Sheylkhdom’s Police reported the scandal to Syna, saying that the “show” had lasted for 24 hours and although both the Iranian and the UAE’s authorities had been informed about the sex exhibition, not measure had been taken to stop it.


Informed sources have told the independent and private Iranian news service Iran Press Service that selling Iranian girls and young women in Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf is a “very well-oil” trade run by some influential men on both sides of the waterway.

In the last sex auction, partly confirmed by the local Interpol, at least 54 young Iranian girls had been put on exhibition. “Iranian authorities had been informed about the auction, the Iranian embassy in Dubai rejected the allegations, saying they have no information about it and the source of the information had been warned not to put his and in the ants’ hole”, the independent Iranian newspaper Sharq reported last week.

“Just go to any café, hotel or restaurant anywhere in Dubai and other Persian Gulf emirates and you see plenty of young Iranian beauties in waiting”, Radio Farda (Tomorrow), the 24 hours Persian service of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty quoted one UAE source as having indicated, IPS added.

Police have uncovered a number of prostitution and slavery rings operating from Tehran that have sold girls to France, Britain and Turkey as well. One network based in Turkey bought smuggled Iranian women and girls, gave them fake passports, and transported them to European and Persian Gulf countries. In one case, a 16-year-old girl was smuggled to Turkey, and then sold to a 58-year-old European national for $20,000.

According to a report published recently by the Farsi-language Syna internet website, a “sex exhibition and auction” was held in the United Arab Emirate, somewhere between the sheikhdoms of Dubai and Fujairah, producing young Iranian beauties to the potential Arab buyers.

In the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan, local police report that girls are being sold to Pakistani men as sex slaves. The Pakistani men marry the girls, ranging in age from 12 to 20, and then sell them to brothels called "Kharabat" in Pakistan. One network was caught contacting poor families around Mashad, (the capital city of Khorasan) and offering to marry girls. The girls were then taken through Afghanistan to Pakistan where they were sold to brothels.

In the southeastern border province of Sistan and Baluchestan, thousands of Iranian girls reportedly have been sold to Afghan men. Their final destinations are unknown.

One factor contributing to the increase in prostitution and the sex-slave trade is the number of teen girls who are running away from home. The girls are rebelling against fundamentalist-imposed restrictions on their freedom, domestic abuse and parental drug addictions. Unfortunately, in their flight to freedom, the girls find more abuse and exploitation. Ninety percent of girls who run away from home will end up in prostitution. As a result of runaways, in Tehran alone there are an estimated 25,000 street children, most of them girls. Pimps prey upon street children, runaways and vulnerable high-school girls in city parks. In one case, a woman was discovered selling Iranian girls to men in Persian Gulf countries; for four years, she had hunted down runaway girls and sold them. She even sold her own daughter for $11,000.

Given the totalitarian rule in Iran, most organized activities are known to the authorities. The exposure of sex-slave networks in Iran has shown that many mullahs and officials are involved in the sexual exploitation and trade of women and girls. Women report that in order to have a judge approve a divorce they have to have sex with him. Women who are arrested for prostitution say they must have sex with the arresting officer. There are reports of police locating young women for sex for the wealthy and powerful mullahs.

In cities, shelters have been set up to provide assistance for runaways. Officials who run these shelters are often corrupt; they run prostitution rings using the girls from the shelter. For example in Karaj, the former head of a Revolutionary Tribunal and seven other senior officials were arrested in connection with a prostitution ring that used 12- to 18-year-old girls from a shelter called the Centre of Islamic Orientation.

Other instances of corruption abound. There was a judge in Karaj who was involved in a network that identified young girls to be sold abroad. And in Qom, the centre for religious training in Iran, when a prostitution ring was broken up, some of the people arrested were from government agencies, including the Department of Justice.

In Tehran, there are an estimated 84,000 women and girls in prostitution, many of them are on the streets, others are in the 250 brothels that reportedly operate in the city

The ruling fundamentalists have differing opinions on their official position on the sex trade: deny and hide it or recognize and accommodate it. In 2002, a BBC journalist was deported for taking photographs of prostitutes. Officials told her: "We are deporting you ... because you have taken pictures of prostitutes. This is not a true reflection of life in our Islamic Republic. We don't have prostitutes". Yet, earlier the same year, officials of the Social Department of the Interior Ministry suggested legalizing prostitution as a way to manage it and control the spread of HIV. They proposed setting up brothels, called "morality houses", and using the traditional religious custom of temporary marriage, in which a couple can marry for a short period of time, even an hour, to facilitate prostitution. Islamic fundamentalists' ideology and practices are adaptable when it comes to controlling and using women.

Some may think a thriving sex trade in a theocracy with clerics acting as pimps is a contradiction in a country founded and ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. In fact, this is not a contradiction. First, exploitation and repression of women are closely associated. Both exist where women, individually or collectively, are denied freedom and rights. Second, the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran are not simply conservative Muslims. Islamic fundamentalism is a political movement with a political ideology that considers women inherently inferior in intellectual and moral capacity. Fundamentalists hate women's minds and bodies. Selling women and girls for prostitution is just the dehumanising complement to forcing women and girls to cover their bodies and hair with the veil.

In a religious dictatorship like Iran, one cannot appeal to the rule of law for justice for women and girls. Women and girls have no guarantees of freedom and rights, and no expectation of respect or dignity from the Islamic fundamentalists. Only the end of the Iranian regime will free women and girls from all the forms of slavery they suffer. ENDS IRAN SEX EXPORT 11604

Editor’s note: Dr. Donna M. Hughes is a professor and holds the Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She wishes to acknowledge the Iranian human rights and pro-democracy activists who contributed information for this article. If readers have information on prostitution and the sex-slave trade in Iran, contact Hughes at Read more at:

Some editing and highlights are by IPS.

The above article, under the original title of Iran’s Sex Slave was published on 11 June by the Front Page Magazine Online



38 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 07:34 [ 1 ]

I think you are looking in black eye at the Islamic country and you think that women and girls are slave in or society. you are wrong, some of your pictures are real, but it is coming because of poverty and ignore ness. I want to tell you to read more about Islam from viewpoint of Muslim writer to know real Islam. Kind regards Assad

Thursday, December 27, 2007 22:44 [ 2 ]

no assad the report is right. the gulf arabs use the petrodollars to exploit poor girls even from others islamic and arab countries. this is the reality.besides the gulf arabs go all over the world looking for sex, just like animals. and they forget their passt, they were absolutly nothing.

Monday, January 14, 2008 09:45 [ 3 ]

The writer in this article seems to be baised, she may have hostility towards Iran and the Islamic revolution. The fact is that after the revolution large segmant of the society particularly women has welcomed the new system. There is no sample size, nor research done in this article. Prostitution is increasing every where even in the US due to poverty not as a result of Islamic revolution or fundamentalism. I think the writer needs further reading

Saturday, February 2, 2008 07:47 [ 4 ]

Islam is a beautiful religon. But we must agree that some of us have given it a very bad name. I read the book "the kite runner" that as written by an Afgan muslim. Its a true life acount. The Mullas actually rape 8 to 10 year old little boys, jus cos they are forbidden with women by law. Law is good. But when there is no order, it can be abused. We all know that it is being abused very badly. I am blessed that I'm in a islamic country where the government is sane and accountable. I wish the same for my fellow Muslims. Malaysian.

Masood Bazmi
Friday, February 8, 2008 14:57 [ 5 ]

I can't believe this story

Faisal Mahmood
Wednesday, March 5, 2008 14:41 [ 6 ]

done some research and can sadly say this article is true. our sisters from poor families are exploited by these rich gulf arabs. if the women had done this of free will so be it, but as i found out they are usually married off, kidnapped etc by arabs and brought to gulf states and forced into this industry, with their passports taken away and can't get help as they dont know the language, as well as the governments keeping a blind eye to this to increase tourism.

Faisal Mahmood
Wednesday, March 5, 2008 14:45 [ 7 ]

Women are not just taken from Iran, but also from the rest of the developing world including my country Pakistan. the savage arabs even take poor arab girls. in the past the most common arab women in this inductry in gulf states were from Palestine, Yemen and Egypt and know the fastest imports seem to be Iraqis.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 09:02 [ 8 ]

Hey what would you do if you have that amount of mony ,and have nothing to be afrade of,dont care if your god is watching you or not ,dont care if the other people are sufering ,nothing at all . well this generally applies to any human with above mentioned characterS not only gulf ARABS and muslim countries you should look deeply into the wold it self and you,ll find out that this kind of behavior occores where ever there are greedy ,selfish welthy people,Not only gulf ARABS and muslim communeties . People are being sold and buoght because of theire poverty generally these are human characters but the writer focused on islamic communeties because this was his aim .

karim khan
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 07:47 [ 9 ]

the report as well as the facts mentioned are shocking. i have nothing to say on this matter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 09:29 [ 10 ]

mohammad hastam

Thursday, May 8, 2008 18:06 [ 11 ]

please stop the false propogenda about islam.if there is about 20%of muslims are corrept,why all islamic world is the same.please see the true pictureof islam to read quran with your own language ,translation.thanks may allah bless you

Thursday, May 8, 2008 23:59 [ 12 ]

All you arab jerks need to shut up. My Iranian wife would cut the nuts off these idiots-Javed ARSCHad Hashmi, Masood Bazmi, Yacob and especially that moron ASSad. It's the Mullah's and that tool Jimmy Carter's fault that Iran is all screwed up. I can confirm that all you read in this report is true and it is common knowlege by the people who live in islamic countries that mullahs rape anything that walks or crawls but they especially like young boys and girls-so don't be fooled because you're a liberal westerner, Islam is destructive. The world would be better if these jerks go back to the dessert and marry their camels...I'm sorry for my blunt approach but these people (religeous fundamentalists) are animals and the opression of women in islamic countries is just inhuman brutality. I heard about these temp marrages a long time ago when I first met my wife and trust me the mullahs are controlling it all and they will do anything-pimping, drug trafficking and slavery, to make money.

Drive on Ms. Hughes...

Friday, May 9, 2008 00:16 [ 13 ]

I especially want to address Kareem...ARE YOU COMPLETELY STUPID?? Were you born with no brains or did you lose all mental faculties over time? This is all the effort I want waste on that anus Kareem. Now go pound sand up your you know what.

kammu rehman
Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:19 [ 14 ]

whatever have been published its true to my knowledge coz these are the things actually happening in iran. all trafficking are done by our muslims brother we all muslim people should get along and fight against these types of activities

Saturday, May 10, 2008 23:46 [ 15 ]

We can't call these people muslims! Islam is pure. they are scum. We need to take action and help these women and children. Those bastards need to be taught a lesson.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 00:01 [ 16 ]

Agreed!!!! But as the article says, this is a result of suppression and control of the Iranians as a whole. Iranians are too intelligent and progressive a people to continue with this crappy regime for much longer. My wife can't even finish reading the news about her beloved Iran without crying because all she reads is that more young boys were hung on the street or a girl had been stoned. We found out last month that her cousin had died from heroine addiction, (there are probably more addicts in the middle east than the whole world put together) she cried for a long time because she remembers him as strong, handsome and happy young man, and the regime is to blame for it. Please, tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Iranians want to continue watching this regime sell out their country and especially their culture which is thousands of years older than any other on his planet. And when and I stress WHEN the regime is ousted or destroyed, then please don’t let the Europeans come flooding in to fill the void. They will turn Iran into another vacation land disaster like Mallorca or child sex industry like Thailand. I would love to some day see a free Iran, and hope it will happen without spilling blood. Just remember and keep count of all the blood this regime spills to hold on to power, and think about how much suffering most Iranians are enduring so these mullahs can hang on to power. Think about it, 70+ million peoples in Iran and 16+ million escaped from brutality, there are more Iranians in the Middle East than all other countries in the region put together. Iran needs to stop selling out their country to the Arab states. Iran doesn’t need to be in a power struggle, it is a power already, and its people are not like what the regime is trying to make them out to be…

Monday, May 26, 2008 19:27 [ 17 ]

Fellow Iranian's this is a true story. I noticed it last year when I went to Tehran. you can get a prostitute for as low is 20K - 80K tooman which is about $25- $100. Girls pass email addresses instead of Phone #. Reality is Mullahs were trying to have legalize brothels under temp marriage(Segeh) I always thought having is segeh is having a prostitute which Islam is ok with it! When you deprive people of thier soul the only thing is left sell their body to make money inorder to feed their family. I say that is bunch of bull crap that author had anything against Iran it is the realm of reality and Islamic government is sucking every last bit of flesh and soul out of what we know of Iran. It is another way we are getting rape by Arabs before they attacked us and forced Islam and now ship our women to them. Sit down and think and ponder where we could have been without curse of Islam of Iran

Tariq Habib
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 15:29 [ 18 ]

Why only Iran is under discussion. The mister who wrote this report, where he is from. My dear he from USA. Don’t you all know about the social set-up of United State. No prostitution is going on there? No brothels are running over there? My dear virginity is precious there; there are few girls who could save themselves from sex abuse. Despite that they are super power they could not protect their race from drug, meth, heroin, cocaine and so many others abuses. This is fact that their uncontrolled human and women rights have put them into hell, the hell of aids, the hell of broken family system, the hell of nudity and shamelessness. did you ever visit their site call naturist society, this society consist of those people who gather into one place without clothing, yeas I mean completely nude, all the men, all the women, all the children,(the wife, the husband, the mother, the father, the sister and the brother) all are nude in front of each others. Is it the freedom or the rights? The abuse he mentioned in his report just because of poverty, social isolation, non-awareness with the rights given by our religion and the blind follow-up of west (so called modernism). This is not only happening in Muslims, is there anyone who can assure me that bible allowed Christian, to drink wine, for pornography or the same sex marriage. Before coming to conclusion we also should consider the statistical facts.

junaid sukri
Thursday, June 12, 2008 00:45 [ 19 ]

This is compleltly rubbish whatever in thier ugly mind they wrote i never belive that these kind of sex is made in muslim country

caila khan
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 09:58 [ 20 ]

that's real truth that 99% prostitution is done by muslim girls......thats all

Sunday, June 22, 2008 06:19 [ 21 ]

I really do care about the feelings of all those commenting. However, the bottom line is they all care and are worried about their religion. God knows the real facts and west always had an upper hand in propagating and depicting the things which we can't compete but now we see the facts. After the gulf war, Iran & Iraq both suffered heavily from the male casualities/losses leaving the women more in population. We are human beings first and then we are Muslims, christians hindus...etc You can't leave away the human needs. Lets be honest to each other. How many out of us can testify that they committed no sins (and sexual sins) in their whole life. Let me have the answer to this question first and then I would conclude my talk. No offense to any person OR religion. Best Regards to you all.

Monday, June 23, 2008 16:36 [ 22 ]

this is all good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 21:15 [ 23 ]

It is nothing but a psycological war against Muslim world. See Gibbons (1994) from US writes, "Those people who are waiting for third world war, must know that it is over. It was a cold war lead by US against USSR. We have already begun fourth world war against Muslim World". These are hoax reactions to the fear of mass conversion from different religions to ISLAM

Thursday, July 17, 2008 02:27 [ 24 ]

what the F U C K you talkin about , I'm Iranian ,my father is , his father was too and more about this, i dont care what you talkin ,but i know in this case someones need to be kick asses !!! you know why ? because some jerk jackasses in this page said some heavy Bullshits ! hey you asshole , i'm talkin to you bastard , could you please shut your fuckin mouth up and just listen to me : PERSIAN GULF , this's exactly what i'm talkin about and nothing else matters , Nothing , GOT IT ?!? ROGER ?!? If you say any stupid things about my country an its History , i kick your fat asses and punch you dirty Balls , I am son of my Counrty ,IRAN , not any please , just get down and respact us . this one is finished .

Thursday, July 31, 2008 00:50 [ 25 ]

I read this article with a shock...its the fact that some girls are been misused by some persons for their own interest but this is not related with islam "please dont blame ISLAM" dont see iran is the only country affected by this problem the Seeds are many "MORE PORN WEBSITES" are from america,uk why are u peoples are not blaming Christiyanity or americans others....Think...

Thursday, August 7, 2008 03:02 [ 26 ]

Hey Koroosh I like you even if your accent is not polite but I think sometimes we should really kick someone on the ass.

Monday, September 1, 2008 04:14 [ 27 ]

I read this article with a shock...its the fact that some girls are been misused by some persons for their own interest but this is not related with islam "please dont blame ISLAM" dont see iran is the only country affected by this problem the Seeds are many "MORE PORN WEBSITES" are from america,uk why are u peoples are not blaming Christiyanity or americans others....Think...

Thursday, September 4, 2008 13:47 [ 28 ]

In all over the world there is the same problem.Even if you go to europe lands like Netherland,germany,belgium,romanie,bulgarie,italy you see JONG girls in street waiting for customers.If people can earn money from this than it will always be.miljards of dollars people earn just from prostitution.It have nothing to make with Islamic land.How many women and girls are in prostitution in all over the world??

My Name
Monday, September 8, 2008 05:12 [ 29 ]

I think the problem lies in the Iranian society , its not Arabs or Pakistanis or Europeans whoa re coming to Iran to take the girls if this is true but you Iranis are taking these girls out yourselves your sisters and selling them to the highest bidder...shame on you Iranis.

Friday, September 12, 2008 14:27 [ 30 ]

These accounts not only occour in your country, but mine as well. We have Russian and Muslim woman from all over the world here in the United States that are forced into prostitution. Their captives break them down mentally and then sell them over and over. The only way to stop it is to take action ourselves. The govts of the world seem unwilling to take a heavy and aggressive hand against those who commit these sins against human kind. I didn't believe it existed here untill I stumbled across the truth. Now I see!!!!

Farhan khan
Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:18 [ 31 ]

The writter is baised and she dont know no the real info, i like the presentation but there is no scientific methode of research no survey, no sample size and no research methodology, i think she need to understand the real picture by the process data, not by imagination.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 23:24 [ 32 ]

I am in such shock. I always knew that Islam was dangerous and hates women but the exploitation is despicable. Islam is a political movement that uses people to kill other people , that condones lying, prostitution, exploitation, drugs, thugs, thievery and all these disgusting things which are crimes in the West and are condoned and approved in Islamic society if it furthers the cause of Islam.
Islam is the scourge of humankind and as any plague it is spreading and eating away at morals and ethics. How to stop it? I don't know.

mohammad kaiser khan
Sunday, October 26, 2008 07:34 [ 33 ]


Thursday, November 27, 2008 12:13 [ 34 ]

hi,what wrong in oding so, when u r doing the same....

Friday, November 28, 2008 21:47 [ 35 ]

The holy Koran says that at the end the world would be once again governed by islam,and since a large number of non muslim people are costantly researching the 'Koran' and they even beleive its sayings but are feeling very much unsecured. That is why they are trying their best to defame the islamic religion by which they think the muslims would not be able to lead the world. May god show them the right path and stop them from their misdeeds and also forgive them.

Monday, January 12, 2009 17:30 [ 36 ]

I can see a lot of lies in what it has been stated especially attributing Islam with what is happening currently in the country. 1) For sure women are not only slaves but also part of the work force with high dignity. In Iran women do not do any tough labor because of the high dignity they possess. Additionally, in contrast with old western women, women in Iran acquire higher status and place in the family and society when they get older and older that's because their value is not based on physical beauty solely. 2)Women took actively in the revolution and even they now still strongly support the revolution although the revolution has deviated from its route in some important aspect. 3) what is happening in the society of Iran for the time being is related to the incompetency of some who wanna help the people and the existence of some corrupted people inside the government and faulty laws that must be corrected and off course patience. 4) the percentage of prostitution in Other countries is much more than Iran. 5) But what is conspicious is that Iran is going under the cultural influence of the west because they have technolgy and we don't. 6) possibly the most important factor that forms the outside shell of all the magnified problems that is shown by the media outside the country is poverty that would not be eradicated by any foreign country. Conclusion: Even if what you said were right, this wouldn't mean Iranian government needs any change or... we have good examples in Iraq and Afganistan

Monday, February 9, 2009 22:14 [ 37 ]

No Azizan, you're right, Iranians are fed up of this regime. But the intelligence of a government is the mean of intelligence of people it governs. Until people learn to walk the walk instead of talking it, that's the way it's going to be. Who, do you think elected Ahmadi-nejad?

Monday, February 9, 2009 22:19 [ 38 ]

Tariq Habib, why don't you take your bat and go back to your cave? You're about 6000 years away from when you belong.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Go anywhere in the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms and you see plenty of young Iranian beauties of all ages



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