No, this isn’t a story about pirate raids from the 18th century. This is the here and now. It sounds just too impossibly lurid to be true, but the staid London Times is the source of the story: “Reunited: boys saved from slavers,” from the TimesOnline, with thanks to Christopher:
A SENIOR member of an Islamic organisation linked to Al-Qaeda is funding his activities through the kidnapping of Christian children who are sold into slavery in Pakistan.
The Sunday Times has established that Gul Khan, a wealthy militant who uses the base of Jamaat-ud Daawa (JUD) near Lahore, is behind a cruel trade in boys aged six to 12.
They are abducted from remote Christian villages in the Punjab and fetch nearly Â£1,000 each from buyers who consign them to a life of misery in domestic servitude or in the sex trade.
Khan was exposed in a sting organised by American and Pakistani missionaries who decided to save 20 such boys and return them to their homes. Using a secret camera, they filmed him accepting $28,500 (Â£15,000) from a Pakistani missionary posing as a businessman who said he wanted to set up an operation in which the boys would beg for cash on the streets.
Khan was observed driving from the meeting with a knapsack full of cash to the JUD headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore.
The base was funded by Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader, in the late 1990s and the JUD”s assets were frozen last month by the US Treasury after it was designated a terrorist organisation.
Read it all.