"Bacha bazi": The Boys Sex Trafficked in Afghanistan

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Child SlaveryHuman TraffickingLaw & Policy

A year after Afghanistan strengthened its human trafficking laws to prohibit the use of boys for sexual entertainment, experts say the crime is still on the rise.

“Bacha bazi” — in which young boys are abducted by commanders who force them to dance and sexually abuse them — was only outlawed in January 2017 when the country updated its anti-trafficking law.

It is generally a very taboo topic in Afghanistan, but officials finally acknowledged the problem once militants started using these boys as weapons, forcing them to become suicide bombers.

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

“Young boys are kidnapped by militant groups,” said Meena Poudel from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “Once they use them sexually, they use them for suicide bombers.”

She added that the government has recognised that its security forces have also practiced bacha bazi.

While the anti-trafficking law has been strengthened, resources to enforce it have not been forthcoming, said Wali Mohammad Kandiwal, whose study of the anti-trafficking law was published by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, a Kabul-based think tank.

There is no court dedicated to hearing human trafficking cases, and little public education about trafficking and where people should go to report it, said Kandiwal.

There is no official estimate of the number of trafficking cases in Afghanistan, but IOM is working with the government to create its first database. Aside from “bacha bazi,” there are many cases of forced labor, forced marriage, and domestic slavery in the country.

Poudel added that an active “medical mafia” which operates in the region is now harvesting organs from trafficking victims to sell. She says that traffickers are targeting Afghans who have been deported or who have decided to return from Iran and Pakistan, as well as those displaced by conflict inside the country.

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Carla Cicchi
Carla Cicchi
2 years ago

Is there any place on this planet that humans do not behave in a disgusting, sadistic manner?! No child, male or female, no adult male or female should ever have to be subjected to such cruel and immoral behavior by others. Sex abuse must stop and governments must stand up to it and stop it.

Richard S Jackson Jr.
Richard S Jackson Jr.
2 years ago

What grabs me is that these militants perpetrating such acts claim to be following the tenets of Islam in its purist form. BS! They are, themselves, the spawn of Hell! If they think they are a witness to their faith, no one in their right mind would convert.

DeBorah Pollitt
2 years ago

Sexual predators always find a justification for Thor heinous acts.

Ellen Kent
2 years ago

This practice is disgusting and should be stopped ASAP

Atalanta Robertson
Atalanta Robertson
2 years ago

What are the Americans, who finance these ‘commanders’, doing about it?!!!

John Watt
John Watt
2 years ago

Protect your citizens from such abusive behavior, now. Implement laws, insure they are known, prosecute all those participate in, or promote their violation.