Child camel jockey programme extended

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24 April 2007

On 24 April, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government extended its agreement to rehabilitate and repatriate children trafficked as camel jockeys.

The agreement with UNICEF extends a project which began in May 2005. Although this latest move is an encouraging step forward, Anti-Slavery International is concerned that the use of child camel jockeys continues.

According to official figures 1,076 children were repatriated by March 2006, when the repatriation programme ended. This figure is far below the UAE Government’s 2005 estimate of there being 3,000 child camel jockeys in the country.

There is no information on what has happened to the missing children, raising fears that they continue to be used to train or look after camels or may have been trafficked into other forms of slavery.

It is vital these children are found and, if they are still working as camel jockeys, that those responsible are prosecuted in line with UAE law.