The issue of child scavengers has been dubbed “New Slavery” by the state-run media, with children searching for anything that will help them survive, whether that be items to sell or food to eat.
According to one member of the regime’s parliament, said that there are roughly 15,000 people scavenging through trash in Tehran alone, with 5,000 of those being children aged 10-15 and 40% of those children being the sole breadwinner for their families.
Even the state-run media is reporting on the problem, noting that the children are facing more illness because they “lack adequate water for hygiene purposes” and only have access to contaminated water. They also note that girl scavengers are more vulnerable than boys.
The child scavengers are forced to endure chronic cases of malnutrition, lack of vitamins and iron, skin diseases, lice problems, ear infections, Hepatitis A, AIDS, and much more.
In Karaj, children at 60 different trash sites were evaluated and the results were awful. The children, aged 4-12, were living in slums built from trash with no restrooms or showers and had to fight off mice and other rodents, which has increased the spread of disease. Meanwhile, the children spend 10-20 hours a day searching through the trash.
Worse still, the children (and women who have neglectful or absent husbands) are being taken advantage of by the “Trash Mafia”, according to one parliament member who says that most of the produced trash in the capital is being rounded up by the mafia to find sellable goods.
One regime expert said: “In 2018, Tehran’s dry trash created a financial profit of 26 trillion rials (around $620 million). Thirty percent of this share belongs to the municipality and the contractors rallying up this trash take home the main 70 percent share.”
They will go as far as murder in order to get hold of this money, but while the mafia is escorted by private bodyguards, no one cares about the people.
The expert added: “Today, the legislative institutions do not understand the conditions of these people roaming the trash sites. Due to the political deals made behind the scenes, no one is actually seeking any solution for these people.”
While another parliamentarian acknowledged the power enjoyed by the “Trash Mafia”.
He said: “Despite all the efforts made by the health institutions and other governmental bodies in regard to improving the conditions of child laborers, they never reach any tangible results because the mafia is far more powerful than they are.”