Afghan Sex Trade Thrives Despite Taboos

900 foreigners hustle in Kabul brothels, but locals do it secretly
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2008 5:37 PM CDT
Afghan Sex Trade Thrives Despite Taboos
An unidentified Afghan prostitute holds her phones after talking with her friends in her Madame's house in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday, May 26, 2008.   (Associated Press)

Sex is selling in Afghanistan despite Islamic laws that make prostitution punishable by death, the AP reports. At least 900 women do it in Kabul, but residents admit only to brothels full of Chinese prostitutes; to be a native Afghan hooker is "very, very bad," one expert said. But 30 years of war and poverty inspire many to try, despite their ignorance of condoms and AIDS.

One 13-year old prostitute works to support her family of 10. After a legless land mine survivor raped her, the girl's parents urged her to work for him as a hooker. Like most of her colleagues, she can't work in a brothel for fear of reprisal. "The girls are afraid of their families, the government, and everyone," one activist said. (More prostitution stories.)

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