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A U.S. defense contractor has been caught – again – in a child sex scandal, this time over bacha bazi – the Afghan cultural tradition of “boy play” – after employees allegedly hired young boys to dress up in women’s clothing and dance and potentially to be sold for sex, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

DynCorp, a U.S. government contractor that trains Afghan security police, allegedly hired a 17-year-old boy for entertainment at what DynCorp describes as a “going-away party” in Kunduz Province, even though bacha bazi is against Afghan law.

In the practice of bacha bazi, boys ages 9-17 are dressed up as women to dance for leering Afghan men who then use the boys for sex and make them their property. Sources say that the dancing boys are, in effect, sex slaves owned by Afghan police, diplomats and wealthy drug lords.

“They are dressed in women’s clothes, they wear bells, they dance and they are rented and sold to the highest bidder,” according to one Afghan. “They are often sodomized by many men in a single night, sometimes resulting in [the] death of the child.”

The U.S. State Department has called the Afghan practice of owning “dancing boys” a “culturally sanctioned form of male rape.”

According to a regional expert, bacha bazi is a “perverse interpretation” of Islamic law, since Afghan women are unapproachable.

“Afghan men cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage, and then they can’t even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet,” the expert said.

“How can you fall in love if you can’t see her face,” one 29-year-old Afghan man asked. “We can see the boys, so we can tell which are beautiful.”

A recently leaked U.S. State Department cable from Afghanistan raised concerns that DynCorp allegedly had participated in paying for young “dancing boys” and that drugs also may have been involved in such activity.

This revelation has led to allegations that U.S. taxpayer money may have been used by a U.S. defense contractor for illicit sex in an effort to influence local leaders.

The leaked cable said then–Minister of Interior Hanif Atmar was concerned that a story would be published that would endanger lives.

“On the Kunduz Regional Training Center DynCorp event of April 11 (reftel), Atmar reiterated his insistence that the U.S. try to quash any news article on the incident or circulation of a video connected with it,” according to the cable, which was signed by U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

DynCorp gets about 96 percent of its $2 billion in revenues from federal contracts. The company has provided much of the security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s presidential guard and trains much of Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s police force.

In response to a G2Bulletin inquiry for a response, DynCorp’s vice president for communications, Ashley Vandarsdall Burke, said the Kunduz episode was an isolated event and admitted that “a handful of individuals were found to have exercised extremely poor judgment and acted inappropriately.”

Burke said that the event was an employee’s going-away party, and a 17-year-old local Afghan dancer was hired to perform a traditional Afghan dance. She said that a site manager of the company halted the performance, recognizing that the “situation” was “culturally insensitive.”

The Kunduz episode isn’t DynCorp’s first brush with the sex-slave world.

In 1999 in Bosnia, a U.S. policewoman who worked for DynCorp was fired after telling of an alleged sex-slave ring operating on one of the bases there. The U.S. policewoman, Kathryn Bolkovac, settled a lawsuit. Her story recently was featured in the film “The Whistleblower.”

Bolkovac’s case followed a similar episode in which another employee, Ben Johnston, blew the whistle on DynCorp employees and supervisors for allegedly engaging in sex with 12- to 15-year-old children and selling them to each other as slaves.

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