Tell the UN to Stop Child Trafficking via Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan
  • Petitioned UN Mission to Afghanistan

This petition was delivered to:

UN Mission to Afghanistan

Tell the UN to Stop Child Trafficking via Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan

    1. Amanda Kloer
    2. Petition by

      Amanda Kloer

      Washington, DC

  1.  
  2.   
January 2011

Victory

Bacha bazi, the practice of adult men exploiting young boys for sex and entertainment, has existed in Afghanistan for centuries. But now, for the first time ever, the UN and Afghan government have worked together to develop a National Action Plan to investigate bacha bazi, prevent young boys from being trafficked into the industry, and hold the men who buy and sell them accountable.

The UN thanked Change.org for their role in supporting and encouraging this effort, citing the petition and campaign as a great tool to motivate all parties to develop this document quickly.

The National Action Plan comes as a result of a year of hard work from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Afghan government and civil society, and after nearly 4,000 Change.org members wrote to the UN asking them to make fighting child sex trafficking in Afghanistan a priority. 

Update: For the first time ever, the UN and Afghan government have worked together to develop a National Action Plan to investigate bacha bazi, prevent young boys from being trafficked into the industry, and hold the men who buy and sell them accountable. The National Action Plan comes as a result of a year of hard work from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Afghan government and civil society, and after nearly 4,000 Change.org members wrote to the UN asking them to make fighting child sex trafficking in Afghanistan a priority.

The bacha bazi tradition, which literally means "boy play" has deep roots in Afghan culture. For centuries, wealthy men have been buying orphans or boys from poor families, dressing them in women's clothing, and paying them to sing and dance for entertainment. After the bacha party, the boy is auctioned off to the highest bidder or shared by several men for sex. When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they banned the practice, and it remains illegal today. But since the Taliban was ousted, the tradition has been revived and is growing.

Bacha bazi boys are usually teens, but many are as young as 11. Most of them come from very poor families or are orphans from the war. Boys are lured off the street or bought from family members by businessmen. Then, they are usually kept in a house with other boys, trained sing, dance, and play musical instruments. They are also introduced to the commercial sex industry, ususally by being raped by the men who train them or sold for sex out of the backseat of cars.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of bacha bazi is how quickly the practice is being revived in Afghanistan and how little police and security forces are doing to stop it. In fact, uniformed Afghan police officers have even been witnessed procuring young boys in broad daylight. And according to a recent report from UNICEF, many of the men who participate in bacha bazi work for the Afghan government, including those who publicly denounce the practice. But even the Afghan authorities who aren't actively participating in bacha bazi are refusing to broach the taboo subject or arrest and prosecute those who commit bacha bazi.

Tell the UN it's time to crack down on bacha bazi in Afghanistan. Security and police forces should never being involved in child trafficking.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Wikileaks Reveals U.S. Tax Dollars Fund Child Sex Slavery in Afghanistan

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      The now infamous Wikileaks recently released a cable from Afghanistan revealing U.S. government contractor DynCorp threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring trafficked boys as the entertainment. Bacha bazi is the Afghan tradition of "boy...

    2. Top Private Security Firms Sign Code of Conduct to Prevent Trafficking

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      Nearly 60 of the largest private security firms in the world, including notorious players like DynCorp and the Firm Formerly Known As Blackwater, recently signed a code of conduct. The agreement aims to prevent security forces from supporting forced...

    3. Are Afghan Security Forces Complicit in Child Sex Trafficking?

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      In Afghanistan, an ancient tradition is re-surging — with exploitative results. Bacha bazi, a term that literally means "boy play," is the tradition of wealthy men paying young boys to dress in women's clothing and dance for them. But bacha bazi...

    Supporters


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.