Camel Jockeys - Child Slaves of the UAE

in humantrafficking •  9 months ago

NY Sun

In 2005, the use of child camel jockeys was officially abolished in the UAE. At the same time, it was announced that miniature robots would become the new camel riders in place of poor young boys from Pakistan and Bangladesh which was met with great fanfare by western democracies.

Pressure from outside the UAE played a major role in the landmark decision to put an end to the heinous practice, which involved human trafficking of thousands of young boys from developing Arab nations, but has it really come to an end? Many believe that the supremely wealthy rulers of the United Arab Emirates, simply moved the practice underground.

The ban on camel jockey slaves was praised in the media and signaled the UAE's transformation into a modern state. Much was made of the decision to replace camel jockeys with tiny robot riders, another symbol of progress being made by the Arab nation.

The story of the UAE’s camel boys is deplorable but also emblematic of the complete disregard for human rights and human life by the Arab country’s ruling elite.

Robo jockey1.jpg


Trafficking Camel Boys

At the heart of the UAE camel jockey story is a morbid tale of human trafficking, child abuse and distain for the planets most destitute human beings.

It also involves some of the Arab world’s most prominent and wealthy individuals, which includes the ruler of Dubai and the Prime Minister of the UAE Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Makthoum.

Thousands of boys have been sold or kidnapped from impoverished countries across the middle east but primarily from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Boys as young as 2-years-old are taken from the streets of their home countries and sent off to become camel jockeys for the entertainment of UAE elites.

Prior to the 2005 ban, it was estimated that more than 6,000 young boys are kept in what are known as “ouzbahs”, a type of camel farm under brutal conditions that are reminiscent of concentration camps.

The unfortunate boys kept on an "ousbah", an isolated camel farm, are caught up in a nightmare of hellish proportions. After experiencing the trauma of suddenly being separated from their families, they are made to work 18-hour days. A camel jockey-in-training is also starved, beaten and sometimes sexually abused. Serious injury, even death, is a fate that also awaits many of the child riders, some as young as five, when training or racing over distances between four and 10 kilometres atop of 800-900 pound animals that can run as fast as 40 miles per hour. Even if the rider does not fall, damaged genitals is one of the serious wounds the slave boys often suffer.

“They used to wake us at two or three in the morning. If we didn’t get up or thought we were lazy, they would beat us with sticks,” one former child camel jockey told a British newspaper. “We had to clean up the camel dung with our hands.”

The children are routinely kept in cramped tin shacks under the blazing desert heat reaching temperatures as high as 52 degrees Celsius.

It’s hard to imagine starving and beating a small child for weeks and then later placing the same child on top of a large racing animal where children face the prospect of being trampled to death if they make a single mistake.

A high-quality racing camel may fetch tens of thousands of dollars, while the slave boy camel jockeys may cost the owner just a few hundred. It’s little wonder then, that the owners are more concerned with the health of their animals.

Another boy, Zufiqar, 10, said that race day represented the worst time due to the injuries and deaths he saw the camel jockeys suffer when thrown from their fast-moving mounts. And if the camel was also injured, Zufiqar stated “They always look after the camel first.”

When it comes to camel racing, the younger and lighter the riders are, the better. The lighter the jockey the faster the camel. The optimal weight for a camel jockey is about 15kg. This is the reason young boys are beaten and starved at the ouzbahs. If there are not camel races scheduled, the boys are used for hard labor often made to work 18 hour days.

In 2006, the Independent reported that secret camel races have indeed gone underground as UAE slave owners wish to evade a 20,000 dirham fine or imprisonment.

Clandestine races are reportedly being staged on remote desert flats. Though gambling is outlawed, lavish prize money is awarded by corporate or tribal sponsors, and underground bets are no secret.

Young girls and pregnant women are also targeted by traffickers seeking to sell them in oil-rich middle eastern states.

Traffickers have also sometimes been caught at Third World airports leaving for the Arabian Peninsula with their human cargo. In 2007, one was caught in Karachi with both a boy and a young, pregnant woman. He was headed for Oman where he planned to sell the boy as a camel jockey and the girl as a sex slave. Her unborn baby was also destined to become a camel jockey or a sex slave, according to Pakistani police, who claim pregnant women are being trafficked for the purpose of producing future slaves.

It has been reported that oil-rich nations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue forms of modern day slavery in the form of foreign domestic workers and laborers from impoverished nations across the Muslim world. A common practice is to confiscate the passports of foreign workers and make them 'pay off' debts to their employers.

The Ruler of Dubai

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Born: July 15th, 1949

Country: United Arab Emirates

Official Title: Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE

Official Title: Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai

Accomplishments: Involved in launching Emirates Airline, DP World, and the Jumeriah Group.

Project Overseer: The Burj Khalifa, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai International Finance Centre, and Palm Islands.

Net worth - $14 Billion (Forbes, 2017)

Business – Dubai International Corporation

Business- Majority shareholder in Dubai Holding conglomerate withe stakes in HSBC, Sony and New York Essex House Hotel.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Net Worth   TheRichest.png

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Net Worth   TheRichest(2).png

Class Action Complaint

A lawsuit was brought against Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2006 on behalf of the families of 6 unknown camel jockey slaves victims. The class action complaint was received by the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, on Sept. 7th, 2006.



The Florida complaint alleges that sheikh Mohammad, his son Hamdan and 500 others of being involved in the trafficking of boys as young as two from South East Asia and Africa.

From the Guardian;

The suit claims the Dubai royals, who have global racing interests, were especially complicit: 'as makers of the de facto rules of the sport, as hosts of the camel races, and with the knowledge that the source of child camel jockeys was the slave trade ... [they] caused the enslavement of boys by other sheikhs [and] conspired with them to enslave boys.

The Guardian

The complaint also highlights the fact that the US State Department’s 2005 TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report for the UAE clearly demonstrates that the US government considers the camel jockey phenomenon as “slavery”.



Link to Wikileaks 2006 TIP Report for the UAE

The State Department's 2006 TIP report details the significant progress made by the UAE in implementing the camel boy ban. Highlighted in the report are the efforts of the UAE government providing assistance to some 1,051 boys to return back to their native countries helping to repatriate children in Pakistan, Mauritania, and Bangladesh among others. The UAE has spend approximately $2 million in this effort.

However, it was estimated by the UAE government and by NGOs that about 3,000 to 9,000 camel jockeys were believed to be residing in the country indicating that only a fraction of the children were returned to their homelands.Despite the discrepancy in the numbers, the UAE's Ministry of the Interior has concluded that, more or less, all have been repatriated. It is for this reason that many speculate that the use of child camel jockeys has been moved underground.

The plaintiffs in the case filed against Mohammad and Hamdan, recognize that the alleged enslavement of children took place outside of US jurisdiction but make a series of arguments as to why the courts should proceed against the Mohammad and Hamdan Maktoum.

In part, they argue that since the Maktoum family conduct billions of dollars-worth of business inside the US (including Florida), won and operate several corporations in the US and own multiple residences millions of dollars in investment real estate in the US and Florida.

Interestingly, the argument is also made that since the Maktoum family are among the elite families in the UAE there’s no chance that any legal action can be redressed against international trafficking and enslavement by the defendants. The complaint states that the Maktoum family is effectively above the law, so no legal action is possible from Dubai or the UAE.


An article by the New York Sun reports that a similar lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Lexington, Kentucky against Hamdan Maktoum in the same year. In this case, the suit brought by the class-action firm Motley Rice LLC under a 1789 law. In some instances, lawsuits involving distant violations of international law can give America jurisdiction as interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

As Dubai’s deputy leader, Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum had already sought to have the case thrown out arguing that the case has no relation to the United States. Furthermore, Hamdan argued that the UAE already is providing compensation to the camel jockey boys so the lawsuit is unnecessary.

Case Dismissed

The Florida class-action suit was dismissed in 2007 by Judge Cecilia Altonaga. Ruling that Mohammad Maktoum did not have sufficient contacts in Florida the case was not to be heard by US courts.

Representing Dubai’s ruler, spokesman Habib Al- Mulla stated that:

"We've said from the beginning that this case doesn't belong in US courts and we're gratified by Judge Altonaga's careful legal analysis and ruling"

SBS News


While the UAE did clean-up its act in 2005 by banning the use of child slave jockeys it did so only after intense international pressure. It has also been suggested by child advocacy groups such as Pakistan's Ansar Burney Welfare Trust that the practice has survived by moving underground.

Ansar Burney continued to investigate the issue and reported several sightings of the use of children in the races around the country. According to US State Department reports, the UN has not been able substantiate claims that clandestine camel racing circuits continue to persist.

In Recent News

Earlier this week, it was reported that Latifa, the daughter of Sheik Mohammad Maktoum, had been kidnapped, held captive by her father and brought back Dubai. With the assistance of friends, Latifa attempted to flee Dubai by crossing the border to Oman where they boarded a yacht that was destined for Goa, India. Once in India she planned on boarding a plane to fly to the United States where she planned to apply for asylum.

The yacht never made it to India as it was intercepted by military ships and helicopters in international waters.

This is not the first time one of Maktoum's daughters has been kidnapped and detained for trying to escape Dubai. Almost twenty years ago, Latifa's older sister Shamsa also attempted to escape Dubai and the control of her father in 2001. After fleeing her father's UK estate in Surrey, she was abducted in broad daylight off the streets and smuggled back to Dubai.

Disobedient Media's Elizabeth Vos has reported on the latest news involving the disappearance of Latifa Al Maktoum.


In perhaps her last video address, Latifa describes the kidnapping of her sister Shamsa, drugging, beating and the ordered torture by Sheik Mohammad of his own daughters in detention. Latifa had also made an earlier attempt to flee Dubai and was apprehended at the border. She was also beaten and tortured for her disobedience.

This is Latifa Al Maktoum's unedited video about leaving Dubai.

Latifa states that if you're viewing this video she may be either dead or in a very bad situation. She explains that her father will kill people to defend his reputation.

Latifa's statements on her father Sheik Mohammad Maktoum

"All of this public image that he's trying to portray is bullshit."

"He's the most evil person I have ever met in my entire life."

"He's pure evil. There's nothing good in him."

"He's responsible for so many people's deaths and ruining so many people's lives."

"He doesn't care about anyone. He only cares about his image, his reputation and he will gladly kill somebody but he doesn't do it himself he just ... he doesn't do the dirty work himself he'll just get other people to do it, he doesn't care."

"After my uncle died, he killed one of his wives, he killed her. Everyone knows about it, the Moroccan one. Because her behavior was too outrageous..."



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According to the well known trust of Pakistan who claimed recently that around 2000 boys are smuggled just for this purpose from Pakistan in the last 2 years.


Would this be the same Ansar Burney Welfare Trust named in this article? If you have any sources or links to more recent news I would be very interested.

Thank you as always for bringing truths that I've never heard of to the light, I'll be sharing everywhere!

human trafficking and slavery is common in the real world, but only few people are aware of it, and if you are poor you are most likely vulnerable to slavery and trafficking especially if you're an innocent kid. back in history slavery is quite objective, but nowadays it's quite subjective. :)

Here in UAE is always a news blockout!!! Even this news I have no idea...

I am afraid to say something about the rights of the people especially Filipino people because my family is living here with me and we are working here.

Even our post in facebook they can detect by their system! Once they saw your post against UAE or one of the Emirati people, they will arrest you! They know where you are! You can run, but you cannot hide!


Why to stay in such a country then in constant fear and slavery? I recently went to USA, beautiful country, but almost all cops act like gangsters, just for the colour of your skin they doubt you, im not even that dark, and too much racism and hate, from there went to mexico, felt extremely safe and homely, cops were really nice, being a dog lover and favorite breed being pitbull, at the airport they actually let me pet them etc. was funny but cool.



A lot of reason @veerall. And in middle east is easy to enter not just like the other country. Beside middle east is the easy way going to the other country like USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, and NEW ZEALAND.

I hope soon after 4 year, me and my family will migrate to NEW ZEALAND.


Best of luck..


Thanks! Bro!

This is a sad reality.

The dangers and risk, to which the deliberately starved youngsters are subjected to, are obviously enormous.

The weeks’ long conditioning through starving and beating, as you here name, apparently to achieve the required competitive weight is just insane.

What’s more, I have read several reports of how, at the races, if you fall, you are either maimed or left dead. It is that simple.

And in other instances, depending how rough the ride on the Camel’s back is, your genitals gets crushed.

A high-quality racing camel may fetch tens of thousands of dollars, while the slave boy camel jockeys may cost the owner just a few hundred. It’s little wonder then, that the owners are more concerned with the health of their animals.

That for me, just about caps all this madness. And stands out as a most unfortunate prove of the highest disregard of human life, by these elites. To Zufigar’s testimony is augmented by several reports, attesting that if, in the races, the Camel falls and it so happens that both it, that is, the Camel, and the child, are injured, priority of treatment is given to the Camel, before the child.

The Camel, to put it bluntly, is more precious than the child. Ironic.

It has been reported that oil-rich nations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue forms of modern day slavery in the form of foreign domestic workers and laborers from impoverished nations across the Muslim world. A common practice is to confiscate the passports of foreign workers and make them 'pay off' debts to their employers.

I can personally attest to that.

They take advantage of the widespread unemployment, rampant in third world countries. Here in my country, sometime early last year, the government had to take a direct intervention, after gruesome reports of mistreatment, sexual and even murder of those who had left to ‘work’ emerged.

Until then, you would find local media adverts running day in and day out, soliciting for both male and female workers to go and work in these countries, particularly Dubai (UAE) and Qatar. And yes, hundreds upon hundreds would, and even now, still, fall victim.

For me the question of Slavery in this Arabs states, is rampant, and it rears its head in several forms, some we might not yet even know. But they are there, and they are several.

EDIT - And moreover, they are equally abusing those sweet humble animals, using them for their own megalomaniac pleasures.

I recently wrote a piece, decrying the mistreatment of animals. And coincidentally, it featured Camels.

This just shows how distanced some persons are from humanity, that they don't really think of others as people, just as pawns or objects in a game that can be controlled or disposed of. It makes me wonder how they were raised, what they went through to make them feel that their actions are ok and that they are actually in the right. Even his daughter... so ridiculous

oh my!!
Its only so pathetic these inhumane Arabians subjected and still very much subject young children to such conditions for the sake of riches and perhaps just sheer wickedness?
When one really thinks we're starting to go forward as humans then one comes to know that we are still very far back in the slavery era, only this time it is done subtlely and yet more disastrously because no one knows such is going on.
The Libyan case only naturally comes to mind. Imagine a booming slave market in the 21st century!!
As so lost for words for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who could even turn against family members for running away from danger, for running away from him. Well, maybe some people are just inhumane or they rather choose to be.
I hope they're brough to justice and the world regains her sanity too.
A great article you have here.


Arabs can be heartless. I hate to say it but it's we all know it's true.


Well anyone can be heartless if they choose to be.
Its a universal problem we all need to solve starting from ourselves.
Or maybe the Arabs are just heartlessly heartless😀?
Its a serious problem though.


Most of arab people is heartless because of their culture and belief... This is the truth... I live 12 years here in Abu Dhabi, 2hours from Dubai. A lot of emirati kids here have no respect even they go to school to study!

But if they have a nanny to take care of them like a Filipino nanny, the attitude of the child changes because of the correct teaching of the caretaker. it is very difficult to become a domestic helper abroad especially in the middle east.

The camel jockey has long been a problem. Many news and images of children's torture have emerged as a camel jockey. Often they are not properly fed on time, and usually only one day in the day they eat. And sometimes there is no food especially when the competition is near.

Child slavery is one of the curse human has seen and yeah they kidnapped people here from Pakistan and i hear from many people there in Dubai that these sheikh are very cruel men they even don't have sympathies for child and women, they can do anything anything just to entertain themselves.@v4vapid your post is worth reading thank you for such nice stuff.


That's true. I thought those horror stories of slavery in that country was just a myth but we may clearly see now that it's true. I hope the advancement of technology can be used to help this poor kids and not just poor kids but everyone in this planet away from slavery.

Really a very big thank you for bringing out this inhuman practices that is being followed in the Arab world. It shows how cruel these guys can be and also inhuman, they still believe in slavery all, modern education has no place in their minds . These people simply should not be spared and strictest action should be taken against them.

Upvoted and resteemed

Child trafficking is a THING and it still happens whether you believe it or not. Had no idea it's got feet in the UAE, read about these camel jockeys a long time ago.

The Prime Minister seems to be some kind of mobster. If this is true, kidnapping and torturing his own daughter is a monstrous act on so many levels.

So beautiful dubai

Your post has been selected by Connect to the World FR

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Thanks for the great content!!

and this

A friend of Dubai Princess Latifa Al Maktoum arrested by Interpol after $54mil donation from the UAE

Wao amazing I like it always

The amazing your post,i like,i like camel,good job brother,@v4vapid

great post,I like this humantrafficking.I appreciate your politics ..very good job,my dear friend @v4vapid..Thanks for sharing this information to us.


You do realize that your comments are permanent on the blockchain right?

I am so surprised. How come the daughter speak up the truth about the person who is ilustrated as perfect person, especially for part of my people. Arabic countries tend to become dream of my people mostly. Everything which come from there are ilustrated as good thing. Big part of my people respect the people from there too much. This story is very good that i want my people know. All the people in the world are same, have specialty and drawback. Thankyou steemit, thankyou @v4vapid

Reading this brought tears in my eyes!

hopefully this decision should be taken into consideration
and do not leave any effect to the community there

@v4vapid that is insane! I honestly had no idea that such a thing even existed 😲


Still exists @jaynie. Child trafficking is a real thing in Africa


Oh yes, @gamsam sadly that is the truth, but I was referring to the camel jockeys specifically.

Dubai ..i love that place ....someday i will make it there...

Sooo big post it wud take years to complete this is better if i study tge same quantity from the books appearing on exams...i will deninitely pass....

Interesting and great post, these are modern slavery trade, this is pathetic, they still find a way to do human trafficking in modern day. Thanks for sharing this information to us.

Camel riding is really fun


Unless you're a slave child

I like this humantrafficking.
I appreciate your politics .
Thanks for sharing.


WTF are you talking about?
You like human trafficking!!??


I'm not sure if he reads your blog.


Am thinking maybe, he had no idea what human trafficking might be. he can't be serious.

@v4vapid good share. People should know About this inhuman activities of these Arabs. It should have been addressed internationally by human right organisations active around the world.

I have no idea even in this news ...
I'm afraid to say something about the rights of the Filipino People, we're working here. Once they are posted against the United Arab Emirates or the United States, they will arrest you!

@v4vapid, it's a good thing we still have people like you that will always bring the truth to light. Child slavery is a very bad thing but the truth is that while the world keep saying that slave trade has been abolished, it is a very big lie.

Here in Africa and in Asia too, child slavery is still in vogue. Human beings have forgotten the essence of being human, they have forgotten that life is sacrosanct, they don't mind what happens to the next man provided their priced possession is protected, imagine the wickedness of valuing a camel more than a child that is barbarism of the highest order.

Men have degenerated way lower than beasts, even animals would protect their younger ones and even when they see a younger one of same specie, they would protect them.

What will the almighty ruler of the UAE gain when after his death, he leaves behind a soiled and evil name.
God save humanity.

Still your boy, @royaltiesboss-eu

She got kidnapped from India by her dad.
Not only in UAE, have you heard of "Pizza Gate"??

No matter howmuch anyone fights or stands up against, the elites, you cant do anything to them.

We have such great examples here on steemit. These days some whales are flagging the truth whistle blowers to target their reputation score..



oh my!!
Its only so pathetic these inhumane Arabians subjected and still very much subject young children to such conditions for the sake of riches and perhaps just sheer wickedness?
When one really thinks we're starting to go forward as humans then one comes to know that we are still very far back in the slavery era, only this time it is done subtlely and yet more disastrously because no one knows such is going on.

Camel jockes are dengerious for children.Many children are died for this jokes.

Slavery should be stopped. Now should be an era where people can have freedom. Good thing they replaced those poor kids with robots. At least technology was used to save somebody.

Thank you so much for the informative post. Upvote and Resteem done.

ugh! This is so sick. Poor children and camels... Just abuse all around. It was hard to image what was going on until I saw the picture you posted of the kids riding a camel. All this for entertainment and money... really sick to see this.

Thanks again for the share. I had no idea this was going on.

Great article but sad article aswell.
Those that enslave children should be hung!!!

I'm so sure this post will be rejected by the evil doers. But what I know for sure is, with people like you in our midst, this world won't come to an end soon. You have really done a great job. And thanks for your time. But while doing this, please be careful as we need you to postore about these devil's.

To you reading this, or who had read it. Please never ve desperate to be successful by turning a devil, rather you work hard and I know a day will come when you meet your jackpot too....

Shame that we call ourselves human when we display this level of cruelty.
Small kids starved, beaten up and sexually abused, just because the sport needs it?
I wouldn't want to or be a part of this sport in any way.
Shame to know the Prime Minister is behind this, such poeple should be punished for sure

I am appalled that this exists.

It's crazy I mean it's the 21st Century where people have human rights, how come practices as this are still not dead?

Upvoted and resteemed