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    AFGHAN CHILDREN - CHEAP COMMODITY

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    ISLAMABAD, February 24, 2004. (RIA Novosti Vladimir Shreter) - An independent Afghan human rights commission is busy investigating into 85 cases of infants' kidnapping and murder with the purpose of subsequent sale of their internal organs abroad, reports the Pakistani agency NNA.

    Over the last five months of 2003, the commission received at least 300 inquiries about lost children from relatives, says Manuel de Almeida e Silva, the press-secretary of the UN mission in Kabul.

    He also pointed to another illicit business flourishing in Afghanistan, that is the smuggling of Afghan children to Persian Gulf countries, chiefly to Saudi Arabia, as cheap workforce.

    In November 2003, the Saudi Arabian government returned home 198 Afghan youngsters, having relieved them of modern slavery. According to the UN press-secretary, children are often sold by their own relatives because of extreme poverty.

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