Children in crisis: troubling new trend emerges in Iran

By January 17, 2022

Iran (MNN) — According to Humanium.org, more than 100 Iranian children die from famine, street fights, and illness each month. These aren’t the only dangers threatening Iran’s next generation.

In an unexpected move, Iranian leaders recently acknowledged the exploitation of children. However, Heart4Iran’s Jennifer Shamoon says the data is vastly underestimated.

“Iranian officials reported about 4,600 children were living in poverty and collecting garbage on the streets of Tehran to sell,” Shamoon says.

“When Iranian officials announce a number, you can double it because they’re not telling the truth. They’re trying to mask everything.”

Officials claim up to 95-percent of at-risk children are Afghan refugees. “Ever since the Russian involvement, there has been [an influx] of Afghan refugees living below the line of poverty in Iran,” Heart4Iran’s Mike Ansari says.

“However, we cannot deny that the problem has been magnified since August of last year when the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Not only in Iran but also in the neighboring countries where you have refugees.”

Jesus loves the little children

Last week, a state-run media outlet blamed poverty for increasing child marriages. Zahra Nejad Bahram, a women’s rights activist, told the outlet:

“We are witnessing the rise of child marriage in society. Some officials openly encourage child marriage. According to published statistics, the number of child marriages in 2020 and spring 2021 has increased sharply in different parts of the country.”

Widespread hopelessness and despair drive this trend and others. “Child trafficking [is] one of the biggest problems. Sometimes, [parents] cannot afford to feed all the children; they have [up to] seven kids,” Shamoon says.

“They know [these children] don’t have any future, so they sell [a few] to feed [the rest].”

(Photo courtesy of Heart4Iran)

Shamoon leads a new Heart4Iran initiative reaching families with God’s Word and the hope of Christ. By introducing parents to a biblical perspective, Heart4Iran hopes to protect children and reverse the current trends.

“When there isn’t a strong family, these people (children) are not being protected, and they are being abused in different ways,” Shamoon says.

Heart4Iran is launching a Virtual Sunday School, continuing to partner with Superbook to create shows in the Farsi language, and increasing outreach to at-risk children through its 24-7 counseling center. Pray the Lord will move mightily through this new program and help parents see the value God places upon every life.

“Pray for God’s mercy, protection, and grace over the children [who find] themselves as orphans or highly marginalized. There are quite a few of them,” Ansari says.

 

 

Header image courtesy of Heart4Iran.