The Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan
Channel 4 (UK)
ABC Four Corners (Australia)
Najibullah returns to his native land to expose an ancient practice that has been brought back by powerful warlords, former military commanders and wealthy businessmen.
Known as ‘bacha bazi’ (literal translation: ‘boy play’), this illegal practice exploits street orphans and poor boys, some as young as 11, whose parents are paid to give over their sons to their new ‘masters’. The men dress the boys in women’s clothes and train them to sing and dance for the entertainment of themselves and their friends, before sexually abusing them. Unbelievably, the warlords allow Najibullah to enter into their circle and document their practice.
The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and their actual complicity, and explores possible local and international responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone.
As the West pours billions of dollars into the fight against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, an ancient tradition (banned when the Taliban were in power) has re-emerged across the rest of the country. Many hundreds of young boys living in extreme poverty are lured off the streets on the promise of a new life away from destitution, unaware their real fate is to be used for entertainment by the warlords and other powerful men of Afghanistan.
Having gained remarkable access inside a sexual exploitation ring, award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates this illegal practice, the consequences of which are shrouded by a focus on the war. The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and explores possible responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone.