Kabul (Web Desk): Afghanistan is set to lay out stringent penalties for “bacha bazi” -– sexual slavery and abuse of boys –- for the first time, officials say.

A raft of punishments will now be listed in Afghanistan's revised penal code -- from up to seven years in jail for sexual assault to capital punishment for "aggravated cases" such as violating more than one boy .

Reports have revealed how the Taliban were exploiting rampant bacha bazi in police ranks to mount deadly insider attacks, exposing a hidden epidemic of kidnapping of young boys for institutionalised sexual slavery.

The revelations intensified longstanding demands by campaigners for Kabul to enact an incisive legal provision to curb bacha bazi — literally “boy play” — which has seen a striking resurgence in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

 “There is an entire chapter on criminalising the practice (bacha bazi) in the new penal code,” Nader Nadery, a senior advisor to President Ashraf Ghani said. “The code is expected to be adopted any time this month. This is going to be a significant step towards stopping this ugly practice.”