Iranian children are being forced out of school and into the workplace as families struggle to make ends meet in the country's worst economic crisis in decades.
Bahram Zonoubi Tabar, the head of the Labor Coordination Council in Fars Province, said that the escalating inflation rate and the steep costs of essential goods are causing significant hardships meaning children are increasingly being forced into the workplace.
Recently, Iran's Parliament Research Center released a report indicating a concerning surge in the number of working children. The report revealed that 15% of school age children are now working, depriving them of crucial educational prospects.
Tabar said, "With the commencement of the school year, numerous workers are grappling with difficulties enrolling their children," adding that the country's 100% increase in commodity prices within a year, compared to the annual wage increments of around 20% for workers, has made conditions unbearable for large numbers of Iranian families. Even basic necessities such as chicken and meat are becoming unaffordable for many.
While the precise number of working children in Iran remains undisclosed, the Ministry of Labor reported in 2017 that out of the country's nine million children, 499,000 were categorized as "active," signifying that nearly half a million Iranian children were either employed or actively seeking work. The number is believed to be far higher as global sanctions continue to wreak financial havoc on the country.