The now infamous Wikileaks recently released a cable from Afghanistan revealing U.S. government contractor DynCorp threw a party for Afghan security recruits featuring trafficked boys as the entertainment. Bacha bazi is the Afghan tradition of "boy play" where young boys are dressed up in women's clothing, forced to dance for leering men, and then sold for sex to the highest bidder. Apparently this is the sort of "entertainment" funded by your tax dollars when DynCorp is in charge of security in Afghanistan.
DynCorp is a government contractor which has been providing training for Afghan security and police forces for several years. Though the company is about as transparent as a lead-coated rock, most reports claim over 95% of their budget comes from U.S. taxpayers. That's the same budget that DynCorp used to pay for a party in Kunduz Province for some Afghan police trainees. The entertainment for the evening was bacha bazi boys, whose pimps were paid so the boys would sing and dance for the recruits and then be raped by them afterward. That's your tax dollars at work -- fighting terrorism and extremism in Afghnistan by trafficking little boys for sex with cops-in-training.
In fact, the evidence linking DynCorp to bacha bazi was so damning, Afghan Minister of the Interior Hanif Atmar tried to quash the story. Upon hearing a journalist was investigating DynCorp and the U.S. government's funding of the sex trafficking of young boys in Afghanistan, Atmar warned any publication of the story would "endanger lives," and requested the U.S. suppress the story. Atmar admitted he had arrested eleven Afghans nationals as "facilitators" of the bacha bazi party. But he was only charging them with "purchasing a service from a child," which is illegal under Sharia law and the civil code. And in this case "services" is not used as a euphemism for sex; so far, no one is being held accountable for the young boys whose rapes were paid for by the U.S. taxpayers.
As if this story couldn't get any more outrageous, Atmar went on to say that if news of the incident got out, he was "worried about the image of foreign mentors". In other words, why should something as piddling as the humiliation, objectification, sale, and rape of some children tarnish the good name of DynCorp and all the work (read: money) they're doing in Afghanistan? After all, bacha bazi is growing in popularity in Afghanistan, especially in areas like Kunduz. Why shouldn't U.S. government contractors be able to win local favor by pimping young boys?
Of course, this isn't the first time DynCorp has used U.S. tax dollars to support sex trafficking. In Bosnia in 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac was fired from the company after blowing the whistle on DynCorp's staffers pimping out girls as young as 12 from Eastern European countries. DynCorp settled a lawsuit involving Bolkovac, and her story was recently featured in The Whistleblower, where she was portrayed by Rachel Weiss. It's a happy ending for one DynCorp whistle blower, but will there be a Bolkovac in Afghanistan?
It's time American taxpayers demanded a zero tolerance policy on our money being used to support child sex trafficking overseas. Tell the UN Mission to Afghanistan the time has come to crack down on those who buy and sell boys in bacha bazi, whether they're Afghans or U.S. government contractors, security personnel or citizens. No one should be able to traffic children so sex and get away with it, and that includes repeat offender DynCorp. We have a right to demand our tax dollars go to fight trafficking, not support it. And we have a right to demand the U.S. government and their contractors be held accountable for exploiting the boys of Afghanistan.