Dr. Donna M. Hughes, a women's studies professor at the University of Rhode Island, has written an article for Insight on the toleration and involvement of Iran's government in sex slavery and prostitution.
Joining a global trend, the fundamentalists have added another way to dehumanize 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.
While talk about democracy gets the most press attention the treatment of women in Islamic countries is the most reliable barometer to watch for whether these societies are becoming more modern. Since Iran's government is so powerful the fact that sex-slave trade is taking place on the scale that Hughes describes can only be done with the knowledge and acceptance of top government figures. Hughes argues that this is a logical consequence of the view that the Mullahs have of women.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 June 08 11:35 AM MidEast Iran|