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The constitution and labor code prohibited forced labor and debt bondage, but the prescribed penalty of a fine and up to one year imprisonment is not sufficiently stringent.Courts accorded legal testimony by women only half the weight accorded to the testimony by men, thereby restricting female trafficking victims’ access to justice.The government did not encourage trafficking victims to assist in the investigation or prosecution of traffickers and did not provide witness support services.
The government did not report statistics on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of traffickers.
A report from the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) in July 2017, however, noted a court in Tehran sentenced 10 perpetrators to 10 years imprisonment each for their involvement in a trafficking network.
There was no evidence the government held complicit officials accountable for trafficking offenses, despite continued reports that officials were directly involved in or condoned alleged cases of trafficking.
The government continued to hold migrants, some of whom may be trafficking victims, in detention centers and jails pending deportation where some experienced severe physical abuse that sometimes led to death.
As in previous years, the government reportedly continued to severely punish victims of sexual abuse and women in prostitution, some of whom may be trafficking victims, through lashings, public shaming, forced confessions, and imprisonment.