Written by Beatriz Garay, Staff Writer
So which video did you choose?
Many people are not aware that slavery is still present in the 21st century. Bacha bāzī, Persian for “playing with boys”, is a form of sexual slavery for entertainment and pleasure that is popular in Afghanistan. Though it is considered an illegal act under Afgan law, corruption lurks within the wealthy class, making it harder to end. Not enough people are familiar with bacha bāzī, or other sex-slavery cases.
The media shows a lot of female sex-slavery related cases but lacks in showing how many men and boys are affected as well, bacha bāzī being one of many forms. This complex issue requires a lot of time and effort, but for starters, it is important to become aware of the facts.
As the Male Sex Trafficking article states, “authorities are trained to identify human trafficking…far too many look primarily for female victims and often miss male victims they encounter.” This not only happens with professional officers, but it also happens with society. When the words “prostitution” or “sex slavery” are brought up, everybody automatically thinks of women, when in reality men and boys are also subjected to victimization. Knowledge needs to be spread nationwide.
When I first watched The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, I shared the link on Facebook with a very personal and sincere caption. One person has yet to “like” the post. It is very ironic, and quite disturbing, that people pay more attention to cat videos or videos of people making fools of themselves rather than things that are morally wrong and are damaging thousands of people. This is how one knows that society has its mind in the wrong place. If society does not care about this horrible, dehumanizing child enslavement, who is going to advocate for their human rights? Who is going to advocate for their safety? Who is going to fight for their freedom?
To find out more, you can watch Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi’s documentary, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan and feel free to share your thoughts below in the comment box.