Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Child Welfare: UAE returns 1075 camel jockeys

Government officials in the United Arab Emirates, have said that more than 1,000 child jockeys smuggled into the state to race camels have been returned to their home countries.

The United Arab Emirates began enforcing a ban on child jockeys last year, after the State Department cited the country as a top destination for smuggled children who were being forced into camel riding. Some 20 smugglers have been prosecuted for trafficking in child jockeys.

Deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Saif al-Shafar said, "The UAE has helped 1,075 children from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Mauritania and Eritrea return home after undergoing a rehabilitation program."

AP reports the UAE, Qatar and other Gulf countries are now using small robots as jockeys, with camel owners using remote control to issue commands.