Iran: Poverty Leads to Prostitution for Women

“Prostitution is not a new phenomenon but identifying what causes it, is an important job,” said Jaleh Shadi Talab, professor in sociology in a meeting about women problems which centered on prostitution. The meeting was held at the Center of Women Studies and Research.

As she said “in the research done, other than the prostitutes, their clients were also studied. About 300 prostitutes were spoken to. They were generally chosen in the streets.

According to this report 9% of these women were forced to this job by their husbands.” Ms. Shadi Talab referred to the research and about the social and economic situation of these women before prostitution she said: “76% of these women are not runaways. 23% have been using drugs. 12% were detained and imprisoned. 77% said that they first did this for buying drugs. 9% were forced by their husbands for the first time and 18% by their parents mainly their fathers.”

Pointing to the fact that many of these women were young, she continued: “70% of these prostitutes were doing this for less than five years.”

She counted “the responsibility for providing few people as the most important reason that women tend to do this; factors such as a history of detention, criminal father and the status of marriage are standing in next stages….”

“22% of these women had jobs and 80% said that they had no jobs before. 43% were unemployed and 15% were housewives,” said Shadi Talab pointing to previous economic activities of these women, “The sections that they were economically active in were: 8% white collars, 7% secretary, 4% sellers, 7% hair dresser, 5% workers and 2% illegal works mostly selling drugs. Women who had a job before didn’t have enough income to be provided with.”

Regarding the age of these women, Shadi Talab said: “Most of them have started when they were 20, and after 5 years now they are 25. Their first marriage has been when they were between 15 to 18 years old. 11% were married, 42% were single, 39% were divorced and 44% were widows.”

“6% were illiterate, 14% had degrees above highschool diploma which is a serious alert,” said Shadi Talab regarding their educational status. (The state-run Iran Art Web Site- May 4, 2018)

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