This poem is my interpretation after researching stories on bacha bazi. Bacha bazi is the practice of men preying upon younger boys, many times stating that they are apprentices, and ultimately using them for their own sexual pleasure. This pedophilia has been a long time part of the culture in Afghanistan. While the Taliban was in power, bacha bazi was actually banned. Since the Taliban has been overthrown, it has come back more prevalently in the communities. The most important part needing to be addressed with bacha bazi is the complete coercion and exploitation of these young boys. As of now, there are not many individuals who are combatting the practice of bacha bazi. There is a common question of whether this is culture or whether this is slavery. I’d have to say that within cultures' norms, slavery has existed and been accepted before. Whether this was once seen as “okay” is not the issue today. In the documentary cited in this video, you can see the men do know it is wrong. The problem is that there are not people willing, due to coercion or fear, to be firm and truly tell them it is not okay to ruin the innocence and take away the youth of a child. It is my hope that by listening to this poem, you may understand the pain of these boys. They are trapped in an awful situation and need your help. Please share this with your friends and family.
Have you heard of me?
I am a dancing boy.
I am somebody’s toy.
Some of us have no family.
Some of us are very poor.
For all of us, a man said come with me.
Behind us, he closed the door.
He was a very nice man.
He said he wanted to take me under his wing.
After getting into the van,
He promised me everything.
I am paraded around…
As a trophy to be had.
Through these beautiful gowns and bells I am bound.
Kristen Wainscott is currently finishing her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs, while minoring in Political Science and obtaining a certificate in Human Rights. Kristen is an Anti-Slavery Intern at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the Modern Slavery Department. Through her experiences in organizations like Children's International Summer Villages (CISV) that aims to educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world, and Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) that addresses critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer services to communities abroad, and contributing responsibly to local economies, she found her call to action to promote human rights while focusing on modern day slavery.
Today is a day to honor those whose lives were lost due to anti-transgender violence. The fact that many transgender and gender-nonconforming people are forced to turn to sex work to survive makes them particularly vulnerable to trafficking, assault, and other tragedies.