An article on Netscape popped up in my newly established slavery rss feed today. It appears to be an article that was published in December, so I’m not sure why it popped up today. But I’m glad it did. The full article can be found here.
“Until last year, hundreds of children were recruited into the centuries-old Arab sport of camel racing because of their low weight and height, which meant the camels could run faster.”
“However, in June 2005 the UAE issued a law banning the use of children under the age of 18 from racing camels. Violators face jail terms of up to three years and/or a fine of 50,000 dirhams (US $13,670). To date, 1,077 child jockeys have been repatriated, mainly to Pakistan. Other source countries for camel jockeys in the UAE included Bangladesh, Mauritania and Sudan.”
Now word comes that these new “robot jockeys” are all the rage.
“The robot is cheaper. It costs between 500 and 2,000 dirhams [US $136 to $545] and there are no other costs like salary, food and clothes,” said Abdullah Moubarek al-Muhairi, head of the camel racing association at Watbah, the main camel racing track in the capital, Abu Dhabi.
“There is also no danger. Before, some of the children used to fall off and injure themselves, but now we don’t have this worry,” al-Muhairi told IRIN at the track.
One excuse for slavery down, many to go.