Bacha Bazi: Afghan ‘dancing boys’.

When it comes to human trafficking and sex slavery, we often don’t think of the male victims because they do tend to be the minority. However, in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, there is a tradition of buying young boys and selling them to the Aghan and Pakistani elite. The Dancing Boys, or ‘Bacha Bazi’ which literally translates to ‘playing with boys’ in Persian Afghani dialect. The practice, which is blatantly goes against Islamic law, is so disturbingly sinister it seems almost like a bad dream. Rarely are ‘bad guys’ so clearly defined than they are in these circumstances. Men literally go driving around the streets of places like Kabul or Peshawar and pick out boys aged 12-13 that they deem attractive. They then tell the parents of the child that they will train the boys or teach them to dance and sometimes, the severely impoverished parents, given the right amount of money, say yes. Many men then keep the children as status symbols.

In this video about the Bacha Bazi:, the man scouting the boys is so incredibly cold and frank when asked about ‘staying the night’ with the young boys. This isn’t a secret practice.

It’s hard for local governments to fight these crimes because many of the men that purchase the boys are wealthy, well-armed, and powerful in the community. According to the Guardian, the buyers aren’t limited to powerful Afghan and Pakistani men: “In December 2010 a cable made public by WikiLeaks revealed that foreign contractors from DynCorp had spent money on bacha bazi in northern Afghanistan. Afghan interior minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar requested that the US military assume control over DynCorp training centers in response, but the US embassy claimed that this was not “legally possible under the DynCorp contract’ “.

I wholly encourage you educate yourself and watch the fascinatingly disturbing documentary on the phenomenon. 

To find official government data on human trafficking in the Unites States and abroad please visit:

If you think you have seen a victim of human sex trafficking contact the following organization anytime toll free, 24 hours a day:

National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888