The Growing Phenomenon of Street Children in Tehran

An Empirical Analysis

  • Habeeb A. Salihu Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
Keywords: Family Structure, Poverty, Security, Socioeconomic, Street Children, Tehran, Urbanization


This study examines the increasing phenomenon of street children in Tehran. It focuses on the challenges and risks these children encounter and the overall implications on the general populace and the country as a whole. The study adopted both primary and secondary sources of data. The primary data were qualitative design (face-to-face interview). The population include all street children in Tehran. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to select a total of 3725 street children for this research. Information gathered was coded, categorized and analyzed using EZ Test Software to quantify the results and demonstrate the frequency of responses to the open-ended questions relating to the research interest. The study found that there are two categories of street children in Tehran (children of the street and children on the street), they experience several challenges such as extortion, exploitation, rape, and harassment. Furthermore, they engage in different activities to get money or survive. The study concludes that disrupted socioeconomic structure of families and the influx of different categories of people into the cities are the major causes of the phenomenon. The study, therefore, recommends that addressing the socioeconomic challenges should be the first approach toward ending the menace.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Habeeb A. Salihu, Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Mr. Salihu is staff member of the Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.


Ahmadkhani, H., Nejad, S. T., & Moghadam, M. H. (2002). Epidemiology of depression and sexual abuse among street children. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, 8(1), 4-20.

Ardalan, A., Naiini, K., Tabrizi, A., & Jazayeri, A. (2002). Sex for survival: Consequence of runaway girls. Iranian Journal of Social Welfare, 2(5), 187-220.

Arthur, I. I. (2013). “Streetism”: ASocio-Cultural and Pastoral Theological Study of a Youth in Ghana. Bloomington: Author House.

Bapat, M., & Agarwal, I. (2003). Our needs, our priorities, women and men from the slums in Mumbai and pune talk about their needs for water and sanitation. Environment and Urbanization Journal, 15(2), 71-86.

Bayden, J., & Gibbs, S. (1997). Children and War: Understanding Psychological Distress in Cambodia. Genera: United Nations.

Cunningham, H. (2014). Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

de Benitez, S. T. (2011). State of the World’s Street Children: Reseasrch. London, UK: Consortium for Street Children.

Furley, O. (1995). Conflict in Africa. In: Forley D, editor. Child Soldiers in Africa. London: Tarvis.

Ghasemzade, F. (2003). Street children in Tehran. Iranian Journal ofSocial Welfare Quarterly, 2(7), 249-267.

Haddad, G. K., & Moghadam, H. M. (2011). The socioeconomic and demographic determinants of crime in Iran (a regional panel study). European Journal of Law and Economics, 32(1), 99-114.

Hoseini, H. (2005). The condition of street and labour children in Iran. Iranian Journal of Social Welfare Quarterly, 5(19), 155-173.

Joel, L. P., & Jessie, K. M. (1999). Street Children and Street Life in Urban Tanzania: The Culture of Surviving and its Implication for Children’s Health. Malden, MA, USA: Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Kopoka, P. E. (2000). The Problem of Street Children in Africa: An ignored Tragedy. Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania: Paper Presented at the International Conference on Street Children’s Health in East Africa. pp. 19-21.

Kozol, J. (2012). Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. New York: Broadway Books.

Laura Del Col. (1988). The Life of the Industrial Worker in NinteenthCentury England. West Virginia: West Virginia University.

Le Roux, J., & Smith, C. (1998). Causes and characteristics of the street child phenomenon: A global perspective. Journal of Adolescence, 33(131), 683-666.

Lugalla, J. (1995). Crisis, Urbanization and Urban Poverty in Tanzania: A Study of Urban Poverty and Survival Politics. Lanham, MD: University Press of America Lanham.

Lugalla, J., & Mbwambo, J. (1996). Street Children and Street life in Urban Tanzania: The Culture of Sorrowing and its implications on children’s Health. In Unpublished Research Report. pp. 43.

Moradi, A., Sajadi, H., Mohagheghi, H., Vameghi, M., Hoseini, S., & Ghaed, G. (2015). Social health of child labourers in non-profit centers for promoting children’s rights in Tehran in 2014. Iranian Journal of Rafsanjan Medical University, 1(14), 977-988.

Nte, N. D., Eke, P., & Igbanibo, S. T. (2000). Street children and the challenges of national security: Evidence from Nigeria. Bangladesh E-Journal of Sociology, 61, 46.

Patel, S. (1990). Street children, hotel boys and children of pavement dwellers and construction workers in Bombay-how they meet their daily needs. Environment and Urbanization Journal, 2(2), 9-26.

Rahbari, L. (2016). Transnationality of child poverty: The case of Iranian and Afghan street children in Tehran. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 4(5), 347-352.

Sadollah, N. M. K., & Kavianpour, M. R. (2016). The urban dilemmas in Iran marginal urban area; A case study of Kermanshah city. Journal of Civil Engineering and Urbanism, 6(1), 16-23.

Sana’ a, W. O. (1999). Education and Training of Street Children: The Khartoum Workshop. Khartoum, Sudan. UN Office on Drugs and Crime. (2009). Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Geneva: UNODC.

UNICEF. (2001). Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children and Adolescents in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe: UNICEF.

UNICEF. (2007). The State of the World’s Children. New York: UNICEF.

Vameghi, M. (2006). Iranian street children and state approaches. Iranian Journal of Social Welfare Quarterly, 5(19), 175-203.

Vameghi, M., Rafii, H., Sajadi, H., & Rashidian, A. (2011). A systematic review of studies on street children in Iran in the past decade, Iranian. Journal of Social Problems of Iran, 2(1), 135-166.

Zand, S., Rahim, N. (2011). Comparison between Iranian and Afghan child labourers in Kerman, based on four priciples of convention on the rights of the child. Iranian Journal of Social Studies, 5(1), 1-24.
How to Cite
Salihu, H. (2019, March 1). The Growing Phenomenon of Street Children in Tehran. UKH Journal of Social Sciences, 3(1), 1-10.
Research Articles