Daily News & Analysis | Sep 14, 2006
A lawsuit was filed in an US district court alleging that the governor of Dubai and his son enslaved some 30,000 children over the past three decades for use as camel jockeys, the US attorneys announced.
The 56-page suit, which bases its case on international laws banning slavery and the use of child labour, names Dubai governor and United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as others.
They are charged with the alleged abduction and human trafficking of thousands of young boys from places like Bangladesh, Sudan and southern Asia, according to a release by the South Carolina-based law firm Motley Rice LLC.
“Once abducted, the children were allegedly sold into slavery to serve as camel jockeys for the entertainment of the Arabian elite,” the statement read.
According to the complaint boys as young as two years old have been stolen from their families, trafficked across international borders, and kept in brutal camel-racing camps throughout the United Arab Emirates, forced to train camels and perform as jockeys.
The suit alleges that despite the enactment of legal weight and age limits, child jockeys weighing less than 20 kilos have become the standard in races.
Because of the extreme danger involved in camel racing, Arab sheikhs have not used their own children for training or riding, and instead have resorted to this alleged child enslavement.
The suit also claims some of the boys were sexually abused, injected with hormones to prevent them from growing and starved to be kept light.