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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2006, 13:31 GMT
Pay-out for child camel jockeys
By Julia Wheeler
BBC News, Dubai

Child camel jockeys in Muscat
The UAE says it has banned child jockeys and overhauled the sport
The United Arab Emirates says it will give $9m (4.6m) to former child camel jockeys employed in the country.

The UAE says the money will ensure they receive the salaries owed to them and compensation for losing their income. It will also go towards education.

The move is part of a joint programme with the UN children's agency Unicef.

The initiative has seen more than 1,000 former jockeys, from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Mauritania repatriated to their countries.

Lawsuit

The prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is among those accused, in a class action filed in the US, of trafficking and enslaving children.

The suit is being brought against him, his brother Sheikh Hamdan, and 500 others by some parents and thousands of unnamed children.

The allegations have been rejected by the Maktoums. They say they have banned child camel jockeys and overhauled the sport.

Remote-controlled robots now sit on the backs of the camels during the long races.

Although camel racing is popular in the Emirates, the Maktoums are better known internationally for their involvement in horse racing and are the owners of the successful Godolphin stables.


SEE ALSO
Child jockeys to return to Bangladesh
20 Aug 02 |  South Asia
The seamy side of camel racing
17 Apr 98 |  Despatches
Country profile: United Arab Emirates
04 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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