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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-09-08

Afghan Warlords Abuse Boys

United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, took on the practice of young boys being kept as sex slaves by powerful warlords. The practice is known as "bacha bazi," which literally means "boy play." Sex trafficking of both boys and girls has been an increasing concern in Afghanistan.

General Asadollah Amarkhill, security chief of Kunduz province, cites widespread poverty as one of the primary factors that forces boys into compliance with bacha bazi. Coomaraswamy believes that raising awareness and prosecuting those responsible may be the first step in sidelining the practice.

"What I found was, nobody talked about it, everybody said, 'Well, you know, it's been there for a thousand years, so why do we want to raise this now?' That seems to be the general attitude among everyone. But somebody has to raise it and it has to be dealt with" said Coomaraswamy last week in a report to the UN .

Media Resources: Reuters 7/7/08; UNiFEED; Reuters 11/19/07


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