Ignored by society, Afghan dancing boys suffer centuries-old tradition

By Atia Abawi, CNN
October 27, 2009 — Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — A young boy dressed in women’s clothing, his face caked in make-up, dances the night away for a crowd of men.

The bells on his feet chime away, mimicking the entertainment and sexual appeal of female dancers. But there is no mistaking his pubescent body and face as he concentrates, focusing on every step in order to please his master and his master’s guests.

This all played out in a video that CNN obtained from a person involved in the parties.

The boy is but one youth among many throughout the country forced into an age-old underground tradition known as “bacha bazi,” or “boy play,” in which young boys are taken from their families, made to dance and used as sex slaves by powerful men. The number of boys involved is unknown — the practice has been going on for centuries, in a country where such practices are overshadowed by conflict and war. Continue reading

For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival

Running in the Shadows
October 27, 2009
By IAN URBINA

ASHLAND, Ore. — She ran away from her group home in Medford, Ore., and spent weeks sleeping in parks and under bridges. Finally, Nicole Clark, 14 years old, grew so desperate that she accepted a young man’s offer of a place to stay. The price would come later.

They had sex, and he soon became her boyfriend. Then one day he threatened to kick her out if she did not have sex with several of his friends in exchange for money.

She agreed, fearing she had no choice. “Where was I going to go?” said Nicole, now 17 and living here, just down the Interstate from Medford. That first exchange of money for sex led to a downward spiral of prostitution that lasted for 14 months, until she escaped last year from a pimp who she said often locked her in his garage apartment for months. Continue reading

Prostitution in Georgian London: Harlot’s progress

Oct 15th 2009
From The Economist print edition

The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital. By Dan Cruickshank. Random House: 688 pages; £25. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

AS MANY as one in five young women were prostitutes in 18th-century London. The Covent Garden that tourists frequent today was the centre of a vast sex trade strewn across hundreds of brothels and so-called coffee houses. Fornication in public was common and even children were routinely treated for venereal disease. A German visitor observed a nation that had overstepped all others “in immorality and addiction to debauchery”.

English society expected, even encouraged, men to pay for sex. Prejudice barred women from all but menial jobs. Prostitution at least offered financial independence: a typical harlot could earn in a month what a tradesman or clerk would earn in a year. For a few beautiful and savvy women, the gamble paid off. Lavinia Fenton, a child prostitute, married a duke. But most prostitutes were destined for disease, despair and early death. Continue reading

Press Release: More Than 50 Children Rescued During Operation Cross Country IV

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2009
Washington D.C., FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Over the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concluded Operation Cross Country IV, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The operation included enforcement actions in 36 cities across 30 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 52 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 700 others, including 60 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.

“Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “There is no work more important than protecting America’s children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization. Through our strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, we are able to make a difference.” Continue reading

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