June 05, 2005



From The New York Times: U.S. Faults 4 Allies Over Forced Labor:

The government was particularly critical of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for allowing young children to be held in captivity and used as jockeys in camel races, "a multi-million dollar activity" in the Persian Gulf states. Tiny children, some 3 or 4 years old, are prized, and they are underfed to keep their weight down, the report notes.

"Some boys as young as 6 months old were reported kidnapped and sold to traffickers and raised to become camel jockeys." Others, it adds, "were sold by their parents to traffickers." Recently, it adds, one fell off his camel and was trampled to death.

In Kuwait, it says, "some have been thrown from the camels they rode and suffered serious neurological damage. Most no longer remember where they came from."

After international criticism, these countries banned the use of children as camel jockeys, but the U.S. State Department's 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report indicates that there is little enforcement of the bans and what few children are rescued represent a small fraction of those still in captivity.

This May 9 Reuters article has more: Boy camel jockeys try to recover lost childhoods.

UPDATE -- July 8: From FoxNews: 86 Kids Rescued From Slavery in UAE.

Posted by Forkum at June 5, 2005 07:19 PM