In this paper, I focus predominantly on the cultural context of sex trafficking of young Iranian women into the underground markets of the Persian Gulf region. Neither human trafficking nor sex trade is a modern trait. While these age-old practices have been the subject of protest by the moralists and the liberal feminists alike, rarely does the discourse of eradication of human trafficking and the restoration of the abject bodies include a remedy to revise the local and common gendered belief that allows for these informal economies to proliferate. New trends of sex-trade in the Gulf region have emerged out of a cluster of cultural and social matters, with their roots in political history of the people in the area. An accelerating poor economy that results to impoverished living situations for majority of people in Iran and a failure to educate the public about the potentials and the rights of women, are a few of the contributing factors that make up the social and political constellation resulting to the thriving market in human and sex trafficking. Although economic misfortune often determines the fate of young women, gender double standards cut across social classes in Iran. Young girls from different regions in the country experience a variety of limitations according to local practices and hegemonic beliefs. Similarly, with respect to treatment of women by men, Iranian oral and textual history is frequently used to legitimize male dominance in contemporary life. Throughout the ages and despite numerous warfare and social unrest, cultural continuity is preserved in the region by keeping stringent rules of conduct. Moreover, much of the popular values are learned through proverbs and legendary stories that get passed on through continuous oral reiterations. Unfortunately, included in the oral culture of the country are stories about women as the lesser to the men. Descriptive teachings of our literary past on how to train a woman into her proper obedient place, is neither scarce nor trivial. In short, this article aims to pay a closer attention to how a young girl comes to perceive herself and is perceived by others before she is swept up and transported into the underground sex markets abroad.
"When Tragedy Hits: a concise socio-cultural analysis of sex trafficking of young Iranian women,"
Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies: Vol. 5:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/wagadu/vol5/iss1/3