and prostitution 'soar' in Iran
- Jul 7, 2000
students are said to be neglecting prayers
new report has, for the first time, acknowledged that prostitution
and drug-taking are widespread among young Iranians.
report says there are up to two-million drug addicts, some of them
schoolchildren, with an estimated five tonnes of narcotics
consumed every day in the capital, Tehran.
is also said to be sharply increasing, along with divorce rates
report is just a true reflection of bitter realities in our
report comes from Mohammad Ali Zam, the head of Tehran's cultural
and artistic affairs, who is seen as an influential figure.
report found a dramatic rise in the problems between 1998 and
addiction is the rage among schoolchildren, prostitution has
increased 635% among high school students and the (growth) rate of
suicide in the country has exceeded the record by 109%," says
Zam says the average age of prostitutes has dropped from 27 to 20
years over the past few years, with a growing but unspecified
number of women involved.
tonnes of opium used daily in Tehran
in schools and recreation centres
age of prostitutes falls to 20
of schoolgirl runways lured into prostitution
growth rate doubles
people living in poverty
all the young girls who run away from home end up as prostitutes,
report also finds that many young Iranians are neglecting their
per cent of the country's 60m inhabitants and 86% of young
students do not say their daily prayers," says the report.
BBC's Reza Azam says the report - published in a newspaper - will
have made shattering reading for many people in Iran
have generally painted a rosy picture of life since the Revolution
in 1979, which placed great emphasis on personal morality as well
the fact that such a grim picture has been published at all, is
being seen as another sign of the rapid changes in Iran.
professor Hassan Bolkhari, a cultural adviser to the education
ministry, said speaking openly about such problems was a step
towards combating them.
Poor living conditions have sparked
riots by Iranian women
far, the establishment's approach was idealistic," he said.
now we see there is a greater degree of realism. This report is
just a true reflection of bitter realities in our society,"
authorities in Iran have been unable to stem the flow of drugs
across the border from Afghanistan, despite a desperate battle.
Mr Zam's report says that easy availability of opium is only part
of the problem. He says the young are turning to drugs because of
a lack of any other alternative entertainment.
is also cited as a cause of some of the problems.
Zam says 12m people live below the poverty line, and huge numbers
are flocking to cities from villages.
country has one of the world's youngest populations, with 35m
people under the age of 20.
is rising as President Mohammed Khatami struggles to liberalise