View Full Version : Sexual slavery involving boys in Afghanistan

Ed Jewett
02-28-2010, 04:05 AM
The Warlord's Tune:

Afghanistan's War on Children
By Mark Bannerman for Four Corners
February 25, 2010 "Four Corners (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/22/2826024.htm)" Feb. 21, 2010 -- Sexual slavery involving boys as young as 10 is being condoned and in many cases protected by authorities in northern Afghanistan.
In a story to be broadcast on Four Corners (http://abc.net.au/4corners) tonight, the practice of bacha bazi or "boy play", as well as other allegations of child abuse, are explored.
Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi has filmed police attending a party where a young boy is the "entertainment". The police shown on the video include one officer from the youth crime squad.

Such parties are illegal under Afghanistan law and with good reason. The "dancing boys" are in effect sex slaves. They are lured off the streets by pimps. They are taught to dance and sing, to wear make-up and to dress like girls. Then they are made to perform before large groups of men. All of them are sexually abused.
Dancing boys are a lucrative business. Powerful former warlords and businessmen love to watch them and will pay a lot of money to have their own boy for bacha bazi. Some of the boys are traded like swap cards among the rich and powerful, and if they disobey their owners they are killed or brutalised.
The trade in boys is well known to the United Nations. According to Nazir Alimy, who compiled a report on the issue for the UN, there is no doubt who is funding this practice and why the police refuse to stop it.
"According to our research these dancing boys are used by powerful men for sex," Mr Alimy said.
Tonight's Four Corners follows the criminal activity of two paedophiles who search for young boys so they can sell or groom them to be trained as dancing boys. In one case the journalist goes in the car with a paedophile named Dastager. As they drive, Dastager describes the type of boy he is looking for. Then in broad daylight the dancing boy master stops the car, goes to a shopfront and brings a boy back to his waiting car.
According to the UN report, there is evidence that the practice of bacha bazi and the sexual abuse of boys is common throughout the north of the country. It confirms that boys, some as young as 10, are lured into life as a sex slave.
There is also evidence this type of abuse is spreading throughout Afghanistan.
Mr Alimy says his research shows it is happening in the south and even in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
"It's true they make the boys wear girls' clothes and make them dance in front of many men," he said.
The powerful men he refers to are often former warlords who helped drive the Taliban out of the north. Others are wealthy businessmen. Under the Taliban, bacha bazi was outlawed. Today it is still a crime, but clearly there is no concerted effort being made to stop the practice and the criminal activity that surrounds it.
Unable to find anyone willing to do anything about the abuse of children, Mr Quraishi flew to New York to meet Radhika Coomaraswamy, who has been appointed by the UN to raise awareness of the plight of children in war zones.
She explains she is deeply pessimistic about the future of these children and the capacity of officials to stop the trade in young boys.
"When I mentioned the topic it was as if I had dropped a big brick, especially in the official circles," she said.
"It was very clear to me, and someone actually said it to me, these are not things people talk about. So let's first deal with the war and then we'll deal with these other issues."


Ed Jewett
03-23-2010, 04:01 AM
Afghanistan's Boy Sex Slaves

Michael Mechanic

http://www.uruknet.info/pic.php?f=21-dancingboys.jpg (http://www.uruknet.info/pic.php?f=21-dancingboys.jpg) March 21, 2010

Say what you will about the Taliban. They're small-minded, repressive, religious zealots who exert their power through fear and intimidation. But certain aspects of Afghan society can make the black turbans look downright righteous. Consider the ancient tradition of Bacha Bazi, which means "boy play." Banned by the Taliban, this illicit activity is on the upswing across Afghanistan. The Guardian reported on it (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/12/dancing-boys-afghanistan) last fall, and on April 20, Frontline is airing a special report with the same title: The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dancingboys/).
Here's how the Frontline producers describe it:

Hundreds of boys, some as young as eleven, street orphans or boys bought from poor families by former warlords and powerful businessmen, are dressed in woman's clothes, taught to sing and dance for the entertainment of male audiences, and then sold to the highest bidder or traded among the men for sex.
With remarkable access inside a Bacha Bazi ring operating in Northern Afghanistan, Najibullah Quraishi, an Afghan journalist, investigates this practice, still illegal under Afghan law, talking with the boys, their families, and their masters, exposing the sexual abuse and even murders of the boys, and documenting how Afghan authorities responsible for stopping these crimes are sometimes themselves complicit in the practice.
This brings to mind the rights of Afghan women, something American officials rarely talk about anymore—probably because they came to realize that the Taliban were Johnny-come-latelys when it came to sexual oppression. "Afghanistan is a rural nation, where 85 percent of people live in the countryside. And out there it's very, very conservative, very tribal—almost medieval," Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, told me last year (http://motherjones.com/media/2009/05/mojo-interview-khaled-hosseini-kabuls-splendid-son-extended-interview). "The way that people saw the Taliban treating women, unfortunately, is the way women have been treated in many parts of the country going back centuries. Kabul has always been sort of a cultural island."
In our conversation, Hosseini was ambivalent as to whether America should—or even could (http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/05/has-america-helped-afghan-women)—make an issue of women's rights. As he put it:

Throughout the last century there were multiple attempts at giving women more autonomy, to change marriage laws, to abolish the practice of bride price and child marriage, and to enforce women to be involved in school. Every time, the reaction from the traditionalists was one of contempt and scorn and at times outright rebellion. At one point they called jihad on one of the Afghan kings. So we do have to be careful. I think the emancipation of women in Afghanistan has to come from inside, through Afghans themselves, gradually, over time. Otherwise, I think we're back to suffering the same consequences that the communists in Afghanistan did in the '80s, or the king earlier in the 20th century.
He's probably right. All the same, some of these so-called traditions are enough to make you wonder just what it is we're fighting for in Afghanistan—and for whom.
(The Frontline image above depicts an illegal dancing-boy party in Takhar, northern Afghanistan. The dancer, Abdullah, 13, is "owned" by a local businessman.)

:: Article nr. 64393 sent on 22-mar-2010 07:15 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=64393 (http://www.uruknet.info/?p=64393)

Link: motherjones.com/mojo/2010/03/afghanistan-boy-sex-slaves-taliban (http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/03/afghanistan-boy-sex-slaves-taliban)