PUL-E KHUMRI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - They are known as "bacha bereesh", boys without beards, teenage boys who dress up as girls and dance for male patrons at parties in northern Afghanistan.
It's an age old practice that has led to some of the boy dancers being turned into sex slaves by wealthy and powerful patrons, often former warlords, who dress the boys up as girls, shower them with gifts and keep them as "mistresses".
Afghan police are battling to crackdown on the practice which has angered Islamic clerics who say those involved should be stoned for sodomy, forbidden under Islamic law.
In a society where the sexes are strictly segregated, it is common for men to dance for other men at weddings in Afghanistan.
But in northern Afghanistan, former warlords and mujahideen commanders have taken that a step further with competitions for their dancing boys.
"Every boy tries to be the first. They are dressed in women's clothes, have bells on their feet and have artificial breasts," said Mohammad Yawar, a former mujahideen fighter against the Taliban and resident of the northern town of Pul-e Khumri.
The practice, called "bacha bazi" -- literally "boy play" -- has a long history in northern Afghanistan, but sometimes it does not stop with just dancing.
"I very much enjoy hugging a boy. His smell and fragrance kills me," said Yawar.
The 38-year-old businessman said he recruited a 15-year-old boy three years ago to help him with his work.
I have had him for at least three years, since he was only 15. He was looking for a job and I gave him somewhere to stay," said Yawar, showing the boy's picture.
"I don't have a wife. He is like my wife. I dress him in women's clothes and have him sleep beside me. I enjoy him and he is my everything," he said, kissing the photograph.
MARK OF PRESTIGE
Having the best-looking boy and the best dancer is a mark of prestige.
"Everyone tries to have the best, most handsome and good-looking boy," said a former mujahideen commander, who declined to be named.
"Sometimes we gather and make our boys dance and whoever wins, his boy will be the best boy."
Former mujahideen commanders hold such parties in and around Pul-e Khumri about once a week.
"Having a boy has become a custom for us. Whoever wants to show off, should have a boy," said Enayatullah, a 42-year-old landowner in Baghlan province.
"I was married to a woman 20 years ago, she left me because of my boy," he said. "I was playing with my boy every night and was away from home, eventually my wife decided to leave me. I am happy with my decision, because I am used to sleeping and entertaining with my young boy."
The men say they lavish money and gifts on their boys.
"I was only 14-years-old when a former Uzbek commander forced me to have sex with him," said Shir Mohammad in Sar-e Pol province. "Later, I quit my family and became his secretary. I have been with him for 10 years, I am now grown up, but he still loves me and I sleep with him."
Ahmad Jawad, aged 17, has been with a wealthy landowner for the past two years.
"I am used to it. I love my lord. I love to dance and act like a woman and play with my owner," he said.
Asked what he would do when he got older, he said: "Once I grow up, I will be an owner and I will have my own boys."
But Shir Mohammad, at 24, was already getting too old to be a dancing boy. "I am grown up now and do not have the beauty of former years. So, I proposed to marry my lord's daughter and he has agreed to it."
Many local residents have called for a crackdown, but are skeptical it will work as many of the men are powerful and well-armed former commanders.
Jahan Shah, who lives in Pul-e Khumri, said government and security officials should take tough action against unIslamic and immoral acts. If they don't stop this, it will become a custom and hundreds of other boys will be involved in it," he said.
Police and security officials in northern Afghanistan say they have been doing their best to arrest the men involved.
"It is sad to state that this practice that includes making boys dance, sexual abuse and sometimes even selling boys, has been going on for years," said General Asadollah Amarkhil, the security chief of Kunduz province.
"We have taken steps to stop it to the extent that we are able," he said.
Amarkhil said poverty, widespread in Afghanistan after nearly three decades of war, forced teenage boys into compliance.
"We have taken very strict measures to save the lives of the boys and punish the men," he said. "We are monitoring to find out where these men and boys gather, then go there and arrest them."
Those found guilty of abuse would be jailed for at least 15 years, said Baghlan chief prosecutor Hafizullah Khaliqyar.
"We have 25 cases of such immoral acts. They are being processed and we are trying our utmost to tackle the problem," he said.
COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION in Australia- You Should Be Notified
An Aware Community Is A Safer Community
YOU SHOULD BE INFORMED WHEN A CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER MOVES INTO YOUR COMMUNITY..
"YOUR RIGHT" TO KNOW TO BETTER PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY, HEAVILY OUTWEIGHS A CONVICTED PAEDOPHILES-SEX OFFENDERS right to privacy .. The FACTS are that they are likely to re-offend and thrive on secrecy.
Informing the public of convicted sex offenders identities and whereabouts ("community notification/ public sex offender registries") is "not" about naming and shaming the convicted Paedophile/sex offender. Its much more importantly about PUBLIC SAFETY/AWARENESS..Notification will also act as a deterrent for some sex offenders which in turn assists Prevention..And prevention must be the priority. There is a high percentage of re-offending amongst Paedophiles/ sex offenders and the current system greatly assists them to reoffend by withholding the information from you, the public. It is necessary/ vital information all parents/public should have access to, to better protect themselves and their children from proven sex offenders. By our estimates there are currently at least ,tens of thousands of convicted paedophiles/ sex offenders living UNDERGROUND in communities around Australia. You should have access to such information.As previously stated sex offenders are likely to re-offend, so WHY should entire communities including YOU and YOUR family be put at risk to protect Convicted Paedophiles/sex offenders identities and whereabouts. Governments need to get their priorities in order.... what is more important, preventing victims of sex crimes (HUMAN RIGHT or protecting the privacy of a convicted pedophile/sex offender.
It is time for change...."YOU Should be Notified"(MAKO)
Would You Want To Know If any of These convicted sex offenders Moved Near You And Your Family..??????
The parents of 7-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township,did not know that a twice convicted sex offender was living across the street until that neighbour was charged with the brutal rape and murder of their daughter.
Hiding the KILLERS.. 73 year old Marie Greening Zidan was sexually assaulted,bashed and strangled..Her killers after serving only 6 years jail are due to be released anonymously into the community..
"Paedophiles are very cunning and without conscience, they use threats, bribery, secrets, lies, flattery and other tricks to ensure the child victim does not tell anyone else about the abuse."
.n March 2002, the FBI announced that it had broken a major child porn ring that flourished on the Internet at Yahoo.com. The case began in Houston in May 2000. More than 89 persons in 20 states were arrested in the initial phase of this investigation called Operation Candyman. The suspects have already admitted to molesting at least 36 children. Some of the people arrested represent a cross-section of American society that is truly frightening. The suspects arrested included Little League coaches, a teacher’s aide, a school bus driver, at least one former police officer, six members of clergy, a child photographer and two Catholic priests. They ranged in age from 17 to 70. Hundreds of searches were conducted and dozens of computers were seized. WHAT ARE WE DOING < WE GO TO WAR OVER OIL < WHY CANT WE GO TO WAR FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR CHILDREN< WHAT IS WRONG WITH US
Our sources have informed us Hogermeer has allegedly been released from the Baxter detention center and is reportedly living in a WA community..placing further Australian children at risk..(9-11-05)
Pic- Convicted Paedophile- Norman Hogermeer
Convicted sex offenders being detained in the same detention facilities as children, is obviously of MAJOR CONCERN. This is effectively placing children and other detainees at risk.It is important to note that the average child sex offender will molest many children - MAKO. Detainee Kids Freed (29-7-2005)
"Paedophiles are very cunning and without conscience, they use threats, bribery, secrets, lies, flattery and other tricks to ensure the child victim does not tell anyone else about the abuse." Deborah Coddington- 1997 (Extract from the Australian Paedophile/ Sex Offender Index).
Convicted Paedophile in the Baxter Detention Centre (9-3-05)
Norman Leonard Hogermeer ( now listed on the MAKO/ Files), was convicted in 1996 of serious child sex offences against 2 girls, received 15 years jail. Released from jail after serving just 8 1/2 years, he is believed to have been transfered to Perth Airport detention centre in 2004 and finally to Baxter detention centre in SA where he is now.
Convicted sex offenders being detained in the same detention facilities as children, is obviously of MAJOR CONCERN. This is effectively placing children and other detainees at risk.It is important to note that the average child sex offender will molest many children. This raises many questions including.. What preventative measures are in place at Baxter detention centre and similar centre's in Australia, to protect potential victims from convicted sexual offenders being held at the same facility?
Why put convicted paedophiles in detention with children, knowing child predators are likely to re-offend?
Why not keep paedophile detainees in remand centre's or jails instead of with children in detention centre's?
Are all the staff at the centre informed if a detainee is a convicted paedophile/rapist? Is he monitored by staff/ how much is he monitored?
Does Hogermeer have access to children unsupervised or otherwise in the facility?
Are the parents and other detainees in the centre informed that a convicted sex offender is amongst their children?
Or are the civil liberties of a convicted paedophile, once again more of a concern than the danger he may pose to children?
Will the State/ Federal government or those responsible be willing to pay victims for the lawsuit that could result from any sexual assaults or maybe the risk factor alone?
Australia needs to introduce legislation, to jail paedophiles/ sex offenders who re-offend for life- Keeping them away from children for good- Why risk another child being abused.. ??But at this stage we do not, and until we do Australia certainly has enough sex offenders here already without accepting more from overseas. No matter how long they have been in Australia, and regardless of age or whether they have family here ,we believe that once convicted by a court and any jail term received for conviction has been served ,deportation is warranted for those who have been allowed entry into Australia, then committed sex offences.
Prevention must be the priority. MAKO Inc.
"There's no greater nightmare for a father or a mother than the prospect that their child might in one way or another be subject to some kind of abuse." (Prime Minister) John Howard. (2004)
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