Crime Society

Camel Jockey-Innocent Victims

History and Back ground:

Camel racing is known as popular entertaining sport in the Middle Eastern States, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE); where climate is hot, terrain is dry and most of the land is desert. Camel Racing involves the jockeys aging from 4 to 10 years old children who are ruthlessly tied to the Camels to run in deserts on certain tracks; where these children are usually crushed under the feet of contesting Camels.

In order to manage these children, children trafficking of four to ten years old from Pakistan and other South Asian mostly under developing, has become a common practice for last three decades. Yet, most of the studies done in this context, cover issues like reasons for trafficking, target communities from where children have been trafficked, routes of trafficking etc. However no report yet could empathize with the innocent & victim children being used as the camel jockeys in such areas because a comprehensive investigative report was missing describing the situation of these helpless and small children.

Human-trafficking
Human-trafficking has become a grave concern for the Government of Pakistan particularly and World’s civil societies generally. Over a million people are reportedly trafficked each year; women and children are alarmingly noticed as the main victims. The reasons sorted out for human-trafficking are prostitution, bonded labor etc. Lack of individual liberty and hazardous, exploitative working environments are the major concerns in human trafficking; indicating the straightened violation of human rights. Children abducted or taken from Pakistan to convert them to camel jockeys share large figures of human-trafficking.

Articles of UN Convention disproving child abuse
However with passage of time the international community has realized the magnitude of the problem and devised instruments to combat this menace. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Children (UNCRC) explicitly prohibits exploitation of children and recognizes their inherent need for special care, protection and upbringing within the family.

    Article # 6:

“Every child has the inherent right to life, and the state has an obligation to ensure the child’s survival and development.”

    Article # 9:

“The child has right to live with his or her parents unless this is deemed to be incompatible with the child’s best interest. The child also has the right to maintain contact with both parents if separated from one or both.”

    Article # 11:

“Te state has an obligation to prevent and remedy the kidnapping or retention of children abroad by parents or third party.”

    Article # 19:

”The state shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible by parents or other responsible for the care of the child and establish appropriate social program for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of victims.”

    Article # 32:

“The child has the right to protected from work that threatens his or her health, education or development. The state shall set minimum ages for employment and regulate working conditions.”

    Article # 33:

“Children have the right to protection from the use of narcotics and psychotropic drugs, and from being involved in their production or distribution.”

    Article # 34:

“The state shall protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography.”

    Article # 35:

“It is the state’s obligation to make every effort to prevent the sale, trafficking and abduction of children.”

    Article # 36:

“The child has the right to protection from all forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare not covered in articles, 32, 33, 34 and 35.”

The above captioned articles of the convention illustrate that it is our collective responsibility to take care of children vis-à-vis all the state is responsible for protecting children from all forms of exploitation including sexual abuse, commercial exploitation, abusive labor. Being a party to UNCRC, Government of Pakistan has ratified the Optional Protocol on trading of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It has also ratified ILO Convention 182 on elimination of worst forms of child labor. However Pakistan has been categorized high among the countries of origin, transit and destination for women and children trafficked and exploited.

From where children are obtained?
It is a known fact that children are trafficked from Pakistan to rich Gulf States to indulge in so-called amusement of Camel racing. It has been observed that these children are mainly obtained from poor families in the southern part of Punjab province, and unfortunately this trade has been a cold-bloodedly continued for past so many decades. It is needed to be ponder upon that how many families have either willfully or involuntarily have lost their kids.

Who is responsible?
No Authenticated data over the volume of this trafficking is yet available due to merciless mafia involved in this nasty game. However there have been studies conducted; aimed at understanding some of the aspects i.e. impetus for trafficking, ultimate affected communities and the trafficking routes. None have focused on the children’s traumatic experience once they had been trafficked.

What Pakistani Government is doing?
The President of Pakistan promulgated prevention and control of human trafficking Ordinance on 3rd October 2002 to prevent and control human trafficking to protect and assist victims of trafficking. The penalty marked out is a fine and prison sentenced of 7-10 years. Further in May 2005, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed and agreement to help return the re-integrate under age camel racers to their native countries. The UNICEF and Government of UAE and Pakistan took joint responsibility to ensure immediate actions undertaken for smooth repatriation of these children with their families and communities. Since the large majority of children are from the Punjab, the Government of Pakistan gave this important mandate to the provincial government of Punjab and in particular its Child protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB), Lahore.

Contributed by
Nabeel Malik
Media Coordinator, Child Protection and Walfare Bureau, Lahore

About the author

Nabeel Malik

11 Comments

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  • Yes. Arabs are really the worst. If you ever gone to some Arabic countries , you will know that how nasty they are
    we should not respect Arabs only because Prophet Muhammad(P.B.U.H) was arab, i feel prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was Arab because Arabs were really in need of some revolution

  • Children abducted in South Asian countries to become camel jockeys for the amusement of people somewhere in the Arab World sounds like unbelievable to me! I have never heard of this! It is a complex situation indeed and a complex world we are living in. I wish things get better for everybody involved in case this information is true. It would be even better if somebody can do something about it.

  • I have a volunteer non profit group – SCATT – STOP CHILD ABUSE TORTURE and TRAFFIC. We work to prevent people, especially children from being abducted and forced to do everything from slavery and sweathouses to prostitution and with little or no pay.
    I had heard rumours of “camel jockeys” but was never able to make absolutely certain we had the facts straight. We must always be correct in accusation and never assume anything. If we lose our credibility we lose the ability to make changes to benefit anyone. Your comment “Yes. Arabs are really the worst.” is racist and the exact sort of hatred we must cease if there is ever to be anything like peace on this planet! The solution? EDUCATION! We have been contacted by people in 47 states in the United States and more than 30 countries! Undeniable proof that there are people all across the earth who commit heinous acts.
    People across the globe are far more alike than most people choose to accept. Most people simply want to live in peace. They have family, friends, mortgages/rent,jobs, hobbies, cook, clean their homes and other daily activites that do not involve war fare, blowing people up, packing automatic rifles or tying helpless children to camels for amusement.
    I don’t know where you are from because Americans – REAL AMERICANS do not label entire races or geographical regions as evil or as you said, “the worst”.
    Unfortunately some people accept rumours and lies as truth. Everyone,every single person in the world needs to know the truth.
    Tolerance must be practiced. If you do not like someone or a particular cultural act you must tolerate it. Hopefully tolerance will eventually lead to embracing acceptance. As for me, I have pledged my life to making whatever small contribution I can to make the world a better place.

    In all sincerity,
    *PEACE*

    Jeanne

  • This has got to be one of the worst forms of child abuse that could possibly happen. Can you imagine how these precious children must feel. GOD HELP THESE FOOLS, THEY SURELY WILL BURN IN HELL.

  • The problem with these countries is that the church and state are the same thing. For those in America who want to bring “their” god into politics, take a good look. You may think are are better than the “heathens” but it’s amazing what happens when zealots have the power to promote/enforce their viewpoints.

  • arabs are not the worst , any underdeveloped country has the same lack of respect for human life

  • Life in the land of Allah can be brutal at times. I cannot believe we have not killed each other after all these’s times. Perhaps we just need try little bit harder, for that is the fate of the faithful. It is great sadness to not have satisfaction of killing every one I see! For it is written, we have the mentality of Sheep and stink twice as bad. Please put us out of our misery!
    Allah Akbar….*Gesundheit*

  • This crime among others must not surprise us…men’s hearts have become more and more ‘deprived of natural affection'(Bible,Romans 1:31)
    Makes you wonder how the muslims in the name of allah will treat us infidels when they will use us as slaves or worst.
    Anyone for camel-racing? Place your bets on the camel with the little white girl dragged behind, being trampled by the heartless hatred of these criminals.

  • I have gone through the mails of all wise people. I don’t know much about it, but even I heard that kids will be tied to camel’s belly and they will be made to run wildly. No doubt it is very a brutal act what man kind should not even think of doing.

    I am very much touched with response of Ms Jeanne, according to her Americans should not say or write as what Mr Adnan farooq wrote. One thing I want to say, if american’s should not do so many things, then why Mr George Bush, has conducted homicide in Iraq to full fill his personal grudge against Saddam Hussain. Will anybody calls it Humanity???? By showing some pretext americans have destroyed happy going country like Iraq, I don’t think that Americans have any rights to comment on anybody.

    By the way we are moving out of subject, the issue is that to control this, the only option left is Arab Government should come forward, take necessary action to control these kind of brutal activities.

    I pray almighty to give peace and happy to every beings in this universal.

    “God is great”

  • Yes any form of child exploitation is terrible.But it is a situation that exists in every country in the world.There are some crimes that should not be left to the laws of
    whatever country they occur in.There should be an international tribunal to set up
    and enforce laws in this matter