UAE relief for camel jockeys

DHAKA: Hundreds of Bangladeshi children taken from their homes and forced to become racing camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates will be compensated by the Persian Gulf nation, the Bangladeshi government said on Wednesday.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun said the UAE has given the government nearly $1.44 million to distribute among 879 Bangladeshi children, who worked as camel jockeys after a ban in 1993.

Hundreds of boys under 15 were lured or trafficked into the Gulf states to ride bareback on camels in traditional desert races. Most of them were repatriated after a 2005 agreement between the UAE and UNICEF.

Khatun said each child will receive between $1,000 to $10,000 - depending on their injuries and sufferings - for their education, treatment and rehousing. The UAE banned the use of child jockeys in 1993, following campaigns by human rights groups. But the law was openly flouted until authorities reached an agreement in 2005 with UNICEF.