In Afghanistan, as part of an illegal but traditional practice, men recruit young boys, luring them with gifts and money with the intention of having sex with them. They do it under the guise of a disgusting old sexual traditional practice called “bacha bazi” (boy play).
The practice has been widely discussed — for example, in The New York Times, Newsweek and The Daily Mail. Further coverage comes in a video documentary titled ‘They don’t just dance’ that is now available online through RTDoc – an English-language documentary channel created by Russia’s government-backed media company RT.
The documentary shows how under-aged boys are recruited and taught how to dance like women in parties organized by rich folks, who then later select their favorite boy for sex.
In Afghanistan, this is not viewed as homosexuality, even though there are strict laws prohibiting the act.
Amir, an older man acknowledged in the documentary that he is aroused by the sight of young men and admitted to having exploited them sexually. He said:
“Obviously, when I am with boys, I feel aroused, so it’s just a fair exchange. I give them money, and they give me their bodies.”
The men who recruit these young boys are called ‘playboys’. They are rich and well-connected, which places them beyond the law. They often target poor boys who are either desperate to make money or burdened with the responsibility to take care of their families. The recruited boys who are necessarily not gay are usually between the ages of 12–13 and are called ‘bachas’. They remain in the business until they are 20.
In the documentary, “playboy” Japar, a retired field commander who claimed to have worked with the Afghanistan government, said:
“When a boy is older, we make their life better; we buy their bacha clothes, pay for their wedding when they are no longer wanted.
“We feed them well, we prepare all their food for them, we do everything, we support them in every way.”
One of the bacha boys who talked about his sexual experiences said;
“It feels a bit like love. It can hurt badly too, but money is important.”
Hypocrisy is at play here. Clearly the men involved in this act are pedophiles.
Such acts do not qualify as consensual same-sex relations. Because the youths are powerless, they cannot give their free consent for what is done to them.
- Afghan soldiers are using boys as sex slaves, and the U.S. is looking the other way (July 2017, Washington Post)
- Confessions of an Afghan Boy Sex Slave (May 2015, Newsweek)
- The secret shame of Afghanistan’s bacha bazi ‘dancing boys’ who are made to dress like little girls, then abused by paedophiles (January 2016, Daily Mail)
- U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies (September 2015, The New York Times)