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UAE camel racers defy ban on child jockeys

Author: Simeon Kerr, Financial Times, Published on: 3 March 2010

Camel racers in the United Arab Emirates are still using 10-year-old boys as jockeys in defiance of a law designed to stamp out the practice, an international campaign group has said. Anti-Slavery International found boy jockeys, some as young as 10, at a camel race track in Abu Dhabi last month. The children, who spoke South Asian languages, came from the Indian sub-continent. The UAE passed a law five years ago banning anyone under the age of 18 from racing camels…This was part of an effort to improve the country’s record on human trafficking and labour rights amid sustained international pressure…the race in which Anti-Slavery International said that 10-year-old boys had taken part occurred in the presence of police officers and…a senior member of the royal family…“Using children as camel jockeys breaks international laws to protect under 18s from dangerous work no matter what country they are from,” said Catherine Turner, Anti-Slavery International’s child labour programme co-ordinator…Campaigners say the authorities in the UAE lack the will to enforce the official ban on child camel jockeys.

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