Snap Happy TV
Camels launch from the start gate whipped to speed by their robotic jockeys. Although the practice of camel racing shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon the use of child jockeys has been banned after numerous human rights abuses. Children have been used to guide th camels for centuries but due to pressure from NGO's and innovations in engineering technology the camels are now ridden by robotic jockeys changing the future of the sport forever...North of Wahiba Sands, Oman..Children are often favored as jockeys because of their light weight. It has been reported that thousands of children (some reported as young as 2 years old) are trafficked from countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan for use as jockeys in the Persian Gulf States' camel racing industry. Estimates range of 5,000 – 40,000 child camel jockeys in the Persian Gulf. Many child camel jockeys are seriously injured by falling off the camels. The child jockeys live in camps (called "ousbah") near the racetracks and many are victims of abuse. Hundreds of children have been rescued from camel farms in Oman, Qatar, and UAE and taken back to their original homes or kept in shelter homes. Many however, are unable to identify their parents or home communities in South Asia or Sudan. Some countries have issued penalties for those who trafficked child camel jockeys and ordered the owners responsibilities for returning the children back to their home countries. However, they report that in many instances the children rescued were those who had been sold away by their own parents in exchange for money or a job abroad. If they were returned, the children would again be sold for the same purposes. Other children did not speak their native languages, or did not know how to live outside the camel farms..A prominent activist for rehabilitation and recovery of the jockeys is Pakistani lawyer Ansar Burney. He has focused a portion of his work on eliminating the use of child jockeys...The United Arab Emirates was the first to ban the use of children under 15 as jockeys in camel racing when Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the ban on 29 July 2002. In 2009 the UAE paid compensation to 879 former jockeys. The UAE now issues penalties such as jail and banning for those found using children as jockeys. However, international observers have reported violations of this ban..In Qatar, the Emir of Qatar, Hamad Al Thani, banned child jockeys in 2005 and directed that, by 2007, all camel races would be directed by robotic jockeys.
© Jason Edwards
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