The nefarious custom of “Bacha Bazi” has centuries of history in central Asia, but only Afghanistan kept it to the day.
What is the practice of Bacha Bazi?
Bacha means “boy”, while Bazi has two meanings, “dance” and “play”, but when the two words are used together they can have more than one meaning, such as “dancing boy”, “intimately touching a boy’s body”. Now the expression Bacha Bazi is commonly used for intimately touching or having sexual relation with a male (under 20-25) younger than the perpetrator.
In Afghanistan there are mainly three different ways of practicing “Bacha Bazi”: having boys usually less than 20 wear female clothes and dance during a party, having a boy always around to touch and play with, having sexual relations with a younger boy. In some cases a man does all three of them with his own victim who he calls “his Bacha“, but currently having a boy around for intimate touching and using him as a sex slave is the most common way of Bacha Bazi practice in Afghanistan.
Who has been doing Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan?
It has been going on for centuries, especially in the last three decades of war as social repression increased and has been going worse after the US invasion. During the Taliban regime doing Bacha Bazi in public could lead to death sentence for doers, even though it was known as Taliban commanders’ main entertainment, to the point that boys who were under 30, good looking, with white skin and a little chubby would have been better off staying home rather than going out because there was always a chance they could get picked up and taken to the closer station with excuses such as length of hair, shaving beard or simply for questioning by a Talib or Taliban group.
After the NATO intervention things didn’t change, instead they got worse because most of the commanders addicted to the practice of Bacha Bazi became US allies, and since they came to power nothing could stop them. In some cases U.S. soldiers witnessed the Afghan commanders involved in Bacha Bazi and claimed they had no permission to prevent this from happening.
The main reason why the security forces haven’t been able to enforce the law preventing the practice of Bacha Bazi is that it’s usually carried out by either official elements of the government or leaders of criminal bands and groups. Mainly done by married men, rumors claim some introduced their boy to their wife and wouldn’t mind if he had sexual intercourse with her to meet his sexual needs.
Where do the Bacha boys come from?
The Bacha are usually either orphans or coming from poor families. In this case they were either forced them to do it or did it voluntary to provide for their own family. Once a government official or criminal thug chooses a Bacha to be with him, the boy has to be always loyal to him and do what he wants, such as wearing what the “Katta“, the dominant male, tells him to and following rules that decide who he can talk to, be friend with, smile at, or where he can go and where he can dance. If the Bacha doesn’t follow the rules and the “Katta” gets suspicious, it’s very likely that the Bacha would end up dead.
Hard to be wiped out, Bacha Bazi child sex slavery is by far one of the darkest sides of the Afghan society.