Jan 14 2011
CAMEL JOCKEY BOYS as young as 3-years-old, are often beaten, tortured and used as sex slaves for Arab men.
A Child Slave Trade on the Arabian Peninsula: Boys as young as three are sold by their families, deprived of food and sleep, and forced to become jockeys for camel racing. KEEP IN MIND that United Arab Emirates is a predominantly Muslim country which should already raise red flags as when it comes to child abuse, child sex slavery and other abuse of children, Muslim countries are clear and undisputed leaders.
Child Camel Jockeys in United Arab Emirates are a combination of virtually every abuse a child can be put through. They are sexually abused, they are underfed, they are deprived of sleep and medication, they are beaten and tortured, they are kidnapped from their families and their country to serve as slaves for entertainment of UAE king and sheikhs.
In March of 2010, the UAE reiterated that it considers the use of underage children for commercial camel racing to be exploitative. The UAE banned the use of child jockeys in commercial camel racing in 2002 and is committed to enforcing that ban.
The youngsters competed in a festival last month racing at
speeds of up to 30mph around a track in Abu Dhabi, according to pressure group Anti-Slavery International.
Observers from the organisation saw one child fall from a camel and narrowly escape being trampled at the Sweihan race track. Their pictures show children with
badly fitting hats falling over their eyes at an event attended by dignitaries and uniformed police officers.
In 2005, after pressure from campaigners, theUAE banned under-18s from the sport. Youngsters had been killed or hurt, suffering head and spinal injuries and damaged genitals. Under the law, the use of children as jockeys is punishable by up to three years in prison and fines.
Before the ban, there were up to 3,000 child jockeys in the UAE, many of them trafficked from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Mauritania, but only about 1,000 were returned home under a repatriation scheme.
Catherine Turner, a child labour expert at Anti-Slavery International, said anecdotal evidence suggested that fewer child jockeys had been racing since the ban and the underage jockeys were older than before. Young riders are favoured because they are light.
Anti-Slavery’s observers openly photographed abuses at the course. They spoke to children at the event who said they were from the UAE, but their appearance and the languages they used aroused suspicion.
“We are concerned that the fact the race was attended by the police and UAE dignitaries means that child protection is not being taken seriously.” Nobody was available for comment at the UAE embassy in London.