The Independent Human Rights Commission expressed concerns regarding the sexual abuse of young boys ‘Bacha Bazi’ and said that some of children are the biggest victims of this phenomenon. ‘
According to the commission, most of the men involved in Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan are the senior citizens of the country including politically influential individuals are keeping young boys as sex slaves, dressed as girls and are normally taking the boys with them in parties in a bid to flourish their influence.
Literally translated, bacha bazi means “playing with kids,” and is slang for sexual slavery and child prostitution that thrives across Afghanistan and certain parts of Pakistan.
Prepubescent boys between ages of 14 to 18 are sold to wealthy and powerful patrons for entertainment and illicit sex. Women are not allowed to dance in public, and so the boys are made to perform feminine gestures and acts.
Beardless and effeminate boys are highly sought after by patrons, often powerful merchants or warlords who can indulge with impunity.
Large halls are used as venues for the parties, where the boys dance clad in women’s clothing with bells tied to their feet and a scarf wrapped around their face as they parade for hours.
The parties also provide an opportunity for buying and selling. Once the party concludes the boys are sold to the highest bidder or shared for sex. In return they are given small tokens of money and food.
Although bacha bazi is outlawed in Afghanistan, being against both sharia law and the civil code, there is little enforcement.
Bacha bazi was banned by the Taliban. Today, though, the government is preoccupied with a growing insurgent movement and is unable to tackle the problem.
Meanwhile, the men who indulge enjoy the feeling of absolute power they have over the dancers. Most of the boys are from rural areas who flee to the streets to make a living.
Poverty and class has amplified the tradition, with destitute children or impoverished families selling their sons to survive.
In Kabul and other Afghan cities, bacha bazi CDs and DVDs are widely on sale from street stalls and carts, serving an audience who can’t afford the real thing. In many of the cafes, men sit drinking tea and watching grainy images of boys dancing.
The Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul is one of the few organizations that have attempted to address the practice and protect the victims.
Afghanistan is still struggling to empower its disenfranchised youth, who account for 68 percent of the population.