Leila's Story

Leila's Story

Iranian woman

Leila lives in Tehran. She was sold into prostitution by her own mother from the age of nine.

At 18, she was sentenced to death by hanging.

Her life was saved by the human rights lawyer, Shadi Sadr.

Leila's story, told in her own words, provides a unique insight into poverty in Iran and pays tribute to social workers and lawyers fighting behind the scenes to reform a justice system that's heavily biased against women.

According to Shadi Sadr 'a girl is considered one of the first commodities that can be traded or sold in the eyes of a parent who is poor in Iran'.

Things appear to be changing in Iran.

Under it's new child protection laws, child abuse is now acknowledged as a crime.

However, in practise, Shadi says, the power fathers wield over their children is still 'absolute'.

Today Leila is being cared for and housed by the Omid e Mehr which means 'Hope', a Day Centre for vulnerable girls in Tehran.

Privately funded, this unique home provides round the clock psychotherapy and education.

Here, the girls are told that they are equal to men and taught to become self-reliant.

By Iranian standards - this home is treading a fine line.

Leila's story is narrated by Olenka Frankiel and produced by Julia Rooke.

The interviews with Leila and her carers were recorded in Iran by Hamid Rahmanian.

First broadcast 9 June 2008

Terms of Use

The BBC Podcasts are for your personal non-commercial use only.

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the BBC Podcasts shall remain the property of the BBC or third parties.

You may not edit, alter, adapt or add to the BBC Podcast in any way. The BBC Podcasts are made available by the BBC on an "as is" and "as available" basis and the BBC gives no warranty of any kind in relation to the BBC Podcast.

To the maximum extent permitted by law the BBC will not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer as a result of or connected to the download or use of the BBC Podcasts.

See the full BBC Podcast: Standard Licence Terms here.