Authorities in Iran have announced plans to tackle prostitution, shining a light on a taboo subject and profession treated as a crime in the religiously conservative country.
It is not common for Iran officials to admit to the existence of prostitution. Usually, this type of social issue is portrayed as a Western plot to create a cultural metamorphosis in society and corrupt Iranian youth.
Tehran’s pre-revolution red light district of Shahr-e Now (New Town) was demolished after the 1979 Islamic revolution, prompting prostitutes to move on to the streets to ply their trade.
The latest move is an acknowledgment by the authorities of the extent of the problem.
One of the plans in the pipeline is called “Special Women”.
“We are planning to provide the necessary education to these people so that they do not fall prey to those who intend to take advantage of them,” said Mohammad Ali Erfanmanesh, a senior Tehran provincial official.
“In this context, we intend to involve various cultural, social, police, judicial and security bodies.”
In another move, the Interior Ministry said it is planning to set up a camp for “street women” at the Jajrud region, north-east of Tehran.
According to the governor general of Tehran, Morteza Tamaddon, the camp will not be a prison, but a place where prostitutes “can come to an understanding of their problem and reform themselves spontaneously”.