Leila's Story

Leila's Story

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.