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Abominable exploitation.


Another 22 Bangladeshi children employed as camel jockeys in the UAE have returned home. This follows the return on August 11 of 36 children who had been trafficked out of the country to be used as camel jockeys.

The home-coming of the hapless boys is reported to be the outcome of an agreement between Unicef and the UAE government. Stories of the child jockeys suffering or even dying were carried by the media many times in the past. But the cruel sport was not stopped, though there could be no worse violation of child rights than killing or maiming them in the name of a sport.

Now, some questions need to be answered before we can determine why the barbaric sport still continues in the so-called civilised countries. Why did the law enforcers fail to stop child trafficking from the country? A large number of them were taken out of the country, but the law enforcers seem to have no clue as to what was happening. The traffickers were clearly banking on the gullibility and vulnerability of the parents and guardians or, in extreme cases, they might have given in to the temptation of earning some money in exchange for their children. It has long been known as a death trap for children, but awareness could not be created among the masses about the ruthlessness of the rackets behind and organisers of the camel races. It is at the level of communities that ramparts must be built against trafficking of children and women.

The Unicef deserves credit for taking the initiative to put an end to the business of employing children as camel jockeys. However, it has to be ensured that such activities are stopped once and for all. The Bangladesh Women Lawyers' Association is playing a laudable role in protecting the rights of children. It is the duty of all concerned to extend cooperation to them so that the budding lives are no longer wasted in the barrenness of the deserts where there is nobody to show an iota of sympathy for these little boys.