HBO’s Real Sports Revisits United Arab Emirates Sin Against Children

HBOs Real Sports is back with another hardhitting piece of journalism. This next segment, titled Desert Storm, takes another look at a 2004 story about the enslavement of children to work as jockeys in the Middle Eastern camel racing, a favorite sport of the rich and powerful who rule the United Arab Emirates. 

Children Used as Slaves for Sport | Real Sports w/ Bryant Gumbel | HBO

A story 15 years in the making, Real Sports takes an in-depth look at camel racing and the small boys who were forced to become jockeys. This Special Report premieres Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. #RealSports Subscribe to the HBO YouTube Channel: Don’t have HBO?

The jockeys, kidnapped from other countries as young as three years old while others were purchased outright, are purposefully starved and deprived of sleep to stunt their growth so they wont slow down the camels. Sexual and physical abuse are also used by their masters to force compliance. Many of the children are killed or maimed trying to pilot these massive beats.

Real Sports will go deep to reveal how the U.S. government played a major role in enabling the slavery ring. Real Sports, led by correspondent Bernard Goldberg, returned to the Persian Gulf to tell that story. Interviews include human rights activist Ansar Burney and former U.S. ambassador-at-large John Miller.

Excerpts from HBO Real Sports

Voiceover: We wanted to ask the UAE government about thisabout how some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world could let this (children being abused to keep the children working as camel jockeys) go on for so long but they didnt respond to our interview requests.

HBOs Bernard Goldberg: Ansar how do you think the sheikhs of this country feel about the abolition of children as camel jockeys? Do you think they’re proud, or do you think theyre embarrassed by what was going on?

Activist Ansar Burney: Good question. I think they might not happy with me. Or not happy with HBO as well.

Former US Ambassador John Miller: The people in the U.A.E., the heads of the government, were embarrassed.

Ambassador John Miller admits that the end of camel jockey slavery was far too long in coming. But its over now. And that, he says, is a victory.

John Miller: We wish the change had come three years earlier, five years earlier, ten years earlier. And I’m sorry that it didn’t come earlier. But we also have to think about the kids that have been saved by the change that came. When you stop slavery, you can feel good about it, and we should feel good about what’s happened here.

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