London, Jul. 12 Most runaway girls in Iran are raped within the first 24 hours of their departure, according to an Iranian government official speaking to the BBC.
Dr. Hadi Motamedi, the head of Social Ills Prevention Unit of the Health Ministry, said that the majority of such victims are rejected by their families if they choose to return after having been raped.
Iran has one of the highest record of runaway girls and women in the world.
In June, the U.S. State Department stated in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report that Iran was a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation.
The DoS Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons noted that the Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Internal trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and children for forced labour also takes place, it said, adding that such practices are fuelled by an increasing number of vulnerable groups, such as runaway women, street children, and drug addicts.
In April, a number of government officials and security officers were arrested during raids on at least five houses used as brothels in and around the town of Neka, northern Iran.
Many runaway girls, some as young as 13, were being forced into prostitution by organised child prostitution rings. A number of officers from Irans notorious State Security Forces (SSF), commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and heads of a number of local government departments and institutions were among those rounded up in the raids.