Working children may not be a pleasant name, but we all see them every day on the streets of Iran’s cities, pain along with other pains of Iran’s society.
Children who learn the alphabet of life much sooner than what they need to learn in school, on the streets of the city. Children who do not experience their childhood, their small shoulders are bent under the weight of the labor works.
The word leisure, for them, is a bit of a joke, while they are crushed by heavy work they go to sleep at night and have no time to have sweet child dreams like other children.
Having no childhood joys if you look at their faces you will see just their cries, and if you stare into their eyes, you see the regret of childhood games. In this regime, despite bogus claims, no practical steps are being taken to reduce child labor statistics.
One evidence of this is the statistics provided by relevant authorities on the number of labor children. While statistics on people are the first step towards eliminating or reducing the phenomenon of child labor.
There is much to be said about the reasons for the presence of child laborers on the streets of the cities, but what makes the issue of child labor more painful in Iran under the rule of Velayat-e Faqih (mullahs’ regime) is hiding the statistics of child labor.
Director-General of the Office of Social Welfare of the Welfare Organization has announced the total number of working children in Iran to be 8,000.
Earlier, Mohsen Nirmandy, Director General of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare of Isfahan Province, announced on 27 August 2019 that in Iran we have 410,000 labor children, of which about 8,000 are in Isfahan.
Prior to that, however, Nahid Taj-al-dini, a member of the Social Committee of Iran’s parliament, had estimated the number of labor children in Iran to be between 3 and 7 million in June of 2019.
For the first time in 1961, the issue of children’s rights was introduced and for those who were using children under 12 in carpet weaving workshops, they were sentenced to six to 12 months imprisonment and 500 to 5,000 tomans penalty, which could be up to three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $30,000 were increased if the crime would be repeated.
In the labor law adopted in the 1980s, the employment of children up to 15 is completely prohibited and from the age of 15 to 18 years is allowed just as internships. Overnight work and child overtime are also prohibited.
In addition, the Iranian government has signed international laws on child labor, and by the end of 2021, child labor should reach zero in Iran.
One of the ways in which the regime treats children is by forcibly dealing with them by the police and rounding them up from the cities. The concern is that children who work on the street for whatever reason, whether they have chosen to willingly or not, will be sent to underground workshops with no names or addresses. In this case, children are more likely to be harmed in these workshops, so a coercive approach can lead to worse conditions.
Labor children are seen with differences in most of the country’s major cities, in villages, farms and agricultural areas, and in construction operations on major roads and cities.
Among a large number of children who are forced to work in these places, only children working in the street are considered by the governmental agencies, and just these children and their problems and actions that will be taken will be addressed.
In fact, one can say that the reason for the attention of these children, unfortunately, is not to help them get out of the job cycle, but rather to purge the city’s image of these children. For this reason, the method of fighting the child labor problem has become fighting against these children themselves.
The bylaw of the organization of street children was adopted in 2005 by the government, and 11 agencies have been entrusted with its implementation. But after 15 years nothing has been done.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that children are on the streets of the city as beggars and are often abused in places where there is virtually no access to these places.