Under wraps, prostitution rife in Afghanistan
While Afghanistan's strict Islamic law forbids prostitution, there are signs the work is taking formal root, with brothels operating in some cities and pimps managing prostitutes. Bribes take care of unwanted police attention. Many of teenage girls in abscence of proper job are forced into Prostitution by families themselves.
When 19-year-old Fatima returned to her home in northern Afghanistan after years as a refugee in Iran, she struggled desperately to earn a living.
She briefly found work with an NGO, before being let go, and then spent two months learning how to weave carpets, before the factory shut down and she was again out on the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Determined to support her mother, two sisters and young brother, she turned to a profession that has long been practised the world over but remains deeply suppressed in conservative Afghanistan -- prostitution.
"I had no other way but prostitution," says the pretty teenager, dressed in tight blue jeans with a black veil pulled loosely over her head.
"I get up early in the morning and wander around the city," she said, at first reluctant to discuss her work. "My customers stop me and give me a lift and then we talk about the price," she explains, her face coated in make-up.
Sometimes charging $50 a time, her work is illegal and would bring shame on her family if discovered, but it provides a lifeline she otherwise could not have imagined.