The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan
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In Afghanistan today, in the midst of war and endemic poverty, an ancient tradition — banned when the Taliban were in power — has re-emerged across the country: Many hundreds of boys, often as young as ten, are being lured off the streets on the promise of a new life, many unaware that their real fate is to be used for entertainment and sex. They’re the “Bacha Bereesh,” literally “beardless boys,” chosen for their height, size and beauty, trained to sing and dance for male audiences, and then traded for sexual favors among former warlords and powerful businessmen. With remarkable access inside a sexual exploitation ring operating in Northern Afghanistan, Najibullah Quraishi, an Afghan journalist, investigates this illegal practice, talking with the boys and their masters and documenting how the Afghan authorities responsible for stopping these crimes are sometimes themselves complicit in the practice.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST: Tuesday, 1/19/10 at 10:00 p.m. on CPTV