Afghanistan is one of the most religious countries in the world. The country hides a dark secret called Bacha Bazi. Even the government has tried to stop it, but has failed. Bach Bazi, also means ‘Boy play’ is a harmless form of entertainment. It is a form of sex slavery where Young boys dance for the entertainment of their elders. Sukhur, a young boy was stolen away from his family at the age of 12 and was made to be a ‘Bacha Bereesh'. He could escape after 5 years and now, he dances for a living. He is luckier than most the ‘Bacha Bereesh’.
Images via Daily Mail
Poverty is one of the main causes of Bacha Bazi. The predators prowl the streets targeting the 'pretty' young boys, taking them away from their families with promises of work and education. These promises are never fulfilled, rather the boys are trained to dance in groups.
They are dressed as girls, made to perform to groups of men, bells on their flowing skirts and makeup on the faces. They dance on the traditional songs, gaining attention with words which hint at what is to follow.
The music on which the 'bacha bereesh' dance has words which show what is going to come in the dance. He's touching the boy with his cotton clothes,' was sung by a musician in the 2009 Documentary, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan.
The perpetrators are protected by the police because they are scared of the powerful businessman and warlords who they cannot upset. If the boys are beautiful, and they wear good clothes, the warlord or the businessman are considered to be wealthy.
More than two-fifth of the boys are between the age of 13 and 15. Even after getting a good feeding, and good clothes, this practice is like a life sentence to them where they are taken away from their families forever. Many even start doing drugs.
A report from the Human Rights Commission was released last year which stated that the practice was still followed on a large scale and it had not decreased. It is done secretly, though, no pictures of the boys dancing exist. Everything is done very underground. The total number of boys indulged in this practice still remains unknown, Can be 100, 500 or even 1,000.
Most of the boys don't want to go back to the normal life because they know that the society will not accept them now. They can't get married as families don't want to marry their daughters with them. They are looked upon with shame.
Ahmad Speaking to Reuters in 2007 said, "I love my lord. I love to dance and act like a woman and play with my owner. Once I grow up, I will be an owner and I will have my own boys." According to Dr. Sobhrang, "It is a psychological trauma. They think they can continue like a bacha baz. Now he is 20 years old, he can also take other boys for this process. And so it goes from one generation to another generation."