In 2016, Afghanistan made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The President signed a new Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, hired 14 new labor inspectors, and adopted the Policy on Child Labor in Carpet Weaving. The Government also prosecuted five soldiers involved in a possible case of bacha bazi – a practice involving exploiting boys, often through threats or violence, for social and sexual entertainment – and investigated 60 men in Balkh Province for involvement in such practices. Bacha bazi exists in all provinces of the country, with specific cases documented in the provinces of Balkh, Baghlan, Helmand, and Uruzgan during the reporting period. While some elements of bacha bazi are prohibited under existing Afghan law, the term is not specifically included or defined in the law, making it challenging for law enforcement officials to comprehensively address and compile statistics on these cases. Boys who are victims of bacha bazi are often treated as criminals rather than as victims. In addition, children in Afghanistan are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in armed conflict and forced labor in the production of bricks. Also, Afghanistan’s labor inspectorate is not authorized to impose penalties for child labor violations, and the Government lacks sufficient programs to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
Download ILAB's Sweat & Toil app today. #endChildLabor