Keep Young Boys Safe in Afghanistan
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The welfare of boys is in severe jeopardy in Afghanistan, as they suffer from constant abuse at the hands of those who are considered figures of authority and power; an old 'tradition', named 'bacha bazi', has recently become more popular within the country, where young boys are lured off the street, due to false promises of a better life, in order to become sexual slaves to those who are rich and wealthy. Conducting a sexual relationship with a young boy is seen as a symbol of status and wealth in the eyes of some Afghan men.
They not only get torn away from their families, suffer sexual abuse, and are often made to consume drugs and alcohol, but are also threatened to be killed if they leave their 'owners'. Boys are made to dress up in women's clothing, wear make-up and bells upon their ankles, and dance in front of an audience of older men; these performances are followed with a debate between the men as to who should take the boy home. As the boys grow older, they become blind to the abuse they endure, being brainwashed into believing it is a respectable way to live, and aspire to carry on 'bacha bazi' when they get older. The fact that these boys tend to be homeless and vulnerable is taken advantage of by the very people that should be addressing and solving the situation; members of Afghan society.
Bringing this to the attention of the Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zalmai Rassoul, will aid in solving this issue as he has signed an agreement releasing children in the national security forces, which was witnessed by Radhika Coomaraswamy, and can help raise the issue of 'bacha bazi' to the Afghan government, as they will be more likely to view the welfare of children, especially boys, as a priority - currently, they are denying that 'bacha bazi' is occurring in Afghanistan. By signing this petition, you are ensuring that the government cannot ignore this problem any further - if this issue pursues, the safety and well-being of boys in Afghanistan will deteriorate, and they will grow up in an environment where sexual abuse is encouraged and praised.
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