A disturbing practice re-emerges in Afghanistan

The World

Hundreds of boys in war-torn Afghanistan are being sexually abused with the return of a centuries-old practice called “bacha bazi,” which means “boy play.” The illegal practice, banned while the Taliban were in power, trains boys as young as eleven to sing, dance, and dress as women. After seeing the boys perform, former warlords and powerful businessmen buy the boys, and frequently use them as sex slaves.

Frontline producer Jamie Doran and Afghan journalist, Najibullah Quraishi gained access to a bacha bazi ring operating in northern Afghanistan. They expose the practice in a new “Frontline” PBS documentary, “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan,” produced by our partner, WGBH.

We’re also joined by Radhika Coomaraswamy, special representative of the U.N. secretary general for children and armed conflict. She was one of the first international figures to speak out against “bacha bazi,” and tells us how her criticism has been received and what more needs to be done to stop the practice.

Watch a video excerpt from “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”:

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