A reader sent me this interesting link about slavery in general.
Sanctioned slavery is still practiced. Recall the school girls captured in Nigeria by Boko Haram a few years back? And the Yazidi women and girls who were taken captive, raped, sold and raped again and again. Both of these incidents got mainstream press.
How about boys as sex slaves?
A "religion" that allows sexual slavery has no place in the western world.
The Taliban are using child sex slaves to mount crippling insider attacks on police in southern Afghanistan, exploiting the pervasive practice of "bacha bazi" -- pedophilic boy play -- to infiltrate security ranks.
The ancient custom is prevalent across Afghanistan, but nowhere does it seem as entrenched as in the province of Uruzgan, where "bacha bereesh" -- or boys without beards -- widely become objects of lustful attraction for powerful police commanders.
The Taliban over nearly two years have used them to mount a wave of Trojan Horse attacks -- at least six between January and April alone -- that have killed hundreds of policemen, according to security and judicial officials in the province.
"The Taliban are sending boys -- beautiful boys, handsome boys -- to penetrate checkpoints and kill, drug and poison policemen," said Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai, who was Uruzgan's police chief until he was removed in a security reshuffle in April amid worsening violence.
The insurgents are using boys as honey traps, said 21-year-old Matiullah, a policeman who was the only survivor of an insider attack in Dehrawud district in spring last year.
He said the attacker was the checkpoint commander's own sex slave, a teenager called Zabihullah. Late one night, he went on a shooting spree, killing seven policemen including the commander as they slept.
Horrifying abuse at checkpoints makes the boys, many unpaid and unregistered, hungry for revenge and easy prey for Taliban recruitment -- often because there is no other escape from exploitative commanders.
"To restore security in Uruzgan, we will first have to separate policemen from their bachas," one of the judges said.
"But if they are told to reform their ways, a common reply is: 'If you force me to abandon my boy lover, I will also abandon the checkpoint'. The Taliban are not blind to notice that this addiction is worse than opium."
- 'Male rape' -
Bacha bazi, which the US State Department has called a "culturally sanctioned form of male rape", peels away the masculine identity of boys in a society where the sexes are tightly segregated.
In conservative areas women are mostly invisible in public -- and often unattainable due to steep bride prices. Bachas supplant the role of women, adopting a feminine gait and sometimes wearing makeup and bells on their feet.
Many in Uruzgan see bacha bazi neither as pedophilia nor homosexuality, which is forbidden in Islam. If social norms had a pecking order, violating boys would be seen as far more ethical than violating women.
"Bacha bazi is pervasive sexual slavery of children, seen widely as a cultural practice and not a crime.”
"Since it is mostly practiced by those in positions of power -- warlords, commanders, politicians -- it is hard to stamp out. It appears sustained partly by the fact that access to women is limited."
Insider attacks by child slaves have also been reported in recent years from neighboring Helmand and Kandahar provinces, where bacha bazi is prevalent.
But the tactic appears more deep-rooted in Uruzgan, where the boys are widely flaunted as a totem of affluence, with some officials openly displaying cellphone images of their "handsome bachas".
With a touch of kohl on his eyes, and bleached blond curly hair poking out of his embroidered hat, the boy sat in a corner of the checkpoint surrounded by opium farms, quietly refilling tea glasses for Naqibullah's guests.