Ancient Evil Practice of Bacha Bazi - Boys' Sex Slavery in Afghanistan - Seeker's Thoughts

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Ancient Evil Practice of Bacha Bazi - Boys' Sex Slavery in Afghanistan

The practice of “Bacha Bazi” is an ancient evil practice in Afghanistan – literally, dancing boys is common practice in Afghanistan among wealthy and powerful men who wants pleasure. They happily exploit underage boys as sexual partners.

Bacha Bazi has been practicing in Afghanistan form in the 19th century. Whereas women are prohibited from working as dancers or entertainers in several parts of Afghanistan, and young boys are used for the entertainment purpose instead.

These young innocent boys, known as “bacha bareesh”, or ‘beardless boys’, they are generally between ten and eighteen years old and most of them are to come from poor backgrounds. Parents are persuaded to hand over their sons for financial reimbursement, with the promise that they will be given work and education.

  The young boys worked as dancers at private parties, some are indulge into have sexual relationships with their master’s boys and who refuse to do so are often raped, and in some cases murdered if they manage to escape. 

These young boys are also generally deprived of education, running their life prospects when they are eventually discarded after having become too old.

According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC),  many victim are often beaten, with injuries including internal hemorrhaging, protrusion of intestines, throat injuries, heavy internal bleeding, broken limbs, fractures broken teeth, strangulation, and some cases, death unsurprisingly, the Afghan human rights commission found that 81% of victims eat to leave the so-called ‘profession’, which in reality constitutes human trafficking.

The practice of bacha bazi continued after the overthrow of the Taliban by US forces in 2001, there were several efforts have been made over subsequent years to curb this heinous practice, they have been largely unsuccessful due to government corruption and the reluctance of the US to involve themselves in domestic Afghan affair.

In January 2017, the Afghan government criminalized the bacha bazi practice and is finally beginning to act to prevent abuse and protect victims, with mixed success thus far.

The child abuse remained illegal, the practice of bacha bazi itself did not, which provided cover for sexual abuse.

It’s been a huge problem for the government. As many high- ranking officials reportedly engage in bacha bazi and are rarely prosecuted by their peers. 

A 2014 report by the AIHRC assessed that most people who engage in bacha bazi paid bribes, or had relationships with, law enforcement, prosecutors, or judged that effectively exempted them from prosecution.

 The period of US occupation, US commanders also made efforts to stop this out the practice... The US armed forces had a policy of ignoring such practices committed by allied Afghan militias in order to keep them on the side during the fight against the Taliban. 
A Special Forces commander Dan Quinn was relieved of his command and withdrawn from Afghanistan after he beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.

The spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan defended this policy, arguing that “allegations of child sexual abuse.would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.

The spokesperson said there’s no requirement that US military personnel in Afghanistan report it.”

But such as the Dan Quinn case placed new scrutiny on the policy of ordering soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies, with NGOs such as Human Rights Watch arguing that the US government’s bankrolling of the Afghan government gives it both the responsibility and the leverage to stop the continuation of this abuse.

Trafficking in-person report 2020

On June 25, 2020, the annual trafficking report has been released, by the U.S Department. The department stated that Afghanistan in the soed TIER 3list of countries that do not even meet minimum standards to stop trafficking and are not making any progress to make significant efforts to do so.

Afghanistan is the least concerned nation on human trafficking, on the other hand, Kabul failed to even properly address child slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers.

During the time of reporting, there was a government policy pattern of slavery in government compounds (bacha bazi) and recruitment and use of child soldiers.

According to the state department “despite local officials” a widespread acknowledgment that police, especially some commander at remote areas checkpoints recruited boy for bacha bazi some high level and provincial authorities, which includes the ministry id interior, categorically denied the existence of bacha bazi among police administration and they clearly denied not to investigate reports.

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What is trafficking in-person report?

Since July 2001, the Department of State published the first TIP Report. While the TVPA only called for a ranking of governments, those involved in the preparation of the first report included a brief explanation for the tier rankings to provide clarity and context to the report. The first TIP Report included 82 country narratives based on information received from embassies and consulates abroad, which gathered information including from host governments and law enforcement officials, NGOs, U.S. agencies, and journalists. It was only 103 pages long and included brief two-paragraph descriptions of each country’s efforts to combat human trafficking.

In early years the report’s production was a monumental task for the newly made trafficking in person’s office. It was required the small staff to create both methodologies for the report and processing for gathering the authentic data.

Most challenging for the TIP office posts overseas was the effort to collect real data from other governments, many of those countries had never established systematic measures for collecting human trafficking data nor did they share such data before to any other country.

So the report would be the first if it’s kind of rank countries publicly on their efforts to combat human trafficking, a crime denounced by the international community.

At the time, inclusion in the report depended on whether there was evidence of a “significant number” of victims in a given country, though the U.S. Congress did not specify what is considered to be a “significant number.”

So the drafters of the first received reports from all the U.S embassies, they include all the information and data on the estimated number of the victim in each country, it’s too difficult to find out the actual number of the victim. Taking into account that for small countries this would be a high threshold but for large countries a low one.

The reports based on reliable sources to explain the exclusion of so many countries and called attention to the need for more governments to constitute the proper mechanism to detect and report on human trafficking.

What steps taken by the Afghan government to stop this evil practice (bacha bazi)?

The report stated the Afghan government has not taken enough effort to curb this practice. The government took some steps to acknowledge and addressed trafficking, they even try to identify the victims, some traffickers have been prosecuted and convicted, including two perpetrators of bacha bazi for kidnapping, and conducting four training for provincial and trafficking officers.

However, the Interior and Defence Ministries, as well as the National Directorate of Security "denied that Afghan security forces recruited or used child soldiers, despite multiple cases,"

Many trafficking victims ran and told that authorities forced them to have sex and brutally raped them in exchange for pursuing their cases and sent them to detention centers when they tried to report their traffickers.

And thousands of trafficking victims were arrested, detained, and penalized. Several of them were even punished for “moral crimes.”

Some of 18 other countries are included in the report’s Tier 3 list which includes Belarus, Iran, Russia, and Turkmenistan.


Practice like bacha bazi is like an old tradition in Afghanistan. Where women are already suppressed. Masters don’t indulge women in such practices because of a religious barrier but use those innocent kids for their sexual pleasure. Such heinous crime is still happening under the curtain. This issue should be raised in the UN. This is a clear human right violation.
Those innocent souls need justice and deserve a better life like other kids. The  Afghan government should strictly ban such practices. There is a need for a strict law to curb such practices.

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