HBO’s Award Winning Real Sports Expose ‘Desert Storm’ Is Revisited
One of the biggest secrets that is no secret in the world is that slavery is more popular than ever. There are so many different types of slavery on the planet that once you hear about another form, you would probably roll your eyes and expect it.
In October 2004, Real Sports uncovered a children trafficking ring so that the kids would be forced to compete in camel racing. Why? Kids are smaller than the average jockey, meaning the horse can go faster with less weight. Winning a race with camel while children taken or sold from their family was the norm in many place of the Middle East, but many were obviously going to do something to stop it.
The 251st episode of Real Sports will be going back to that expose of child sex trafficking with an extended edition to explore this lack of regard for kids.
Premise: The story revealed a dark secret in the United Arab Emirates, the fabulously wealthy Persian Gulf state where the national pastime is camel racing, a beloved tradition engaged in by many of the rich and powerful sheikhs who rule the country. The jockeys used in the races were children, some as young as three years old, trafficked in from poor third-world countries. Some had been kidnapped, while others were essentially purchased. They were starved and deprived of sleep, so that they wouldn’t grow and slow the camels down; physically and sexually abused by their masters; and often maimed or killed when trying to pilot the 1,500-pound camels.
It comes as no surprise that the Real Sports team revealed that the United States are complicit and even enable the acts of these traffickers in the UAE and throughout the Middle East.
What will really shock the viewer is that this problem was so widespread, so horrible, yet it was backed by some of the most powerful people in the region. One supporter of child camel racing has also submitted multiple horses to compete in the Kentucky Derby. It just goes to show you that power and money can give you the ability to make child slaves race in the desert, then cross the ocean to watch the most prestigious yearly sporting events in the United States.
Winner of 32 Emmys, including 18 for Outstanding Sports Journalism, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel presents more enterprising stories when it returns with a new edition Tuesday, February 27th (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Make plans to watch this. Before you do, watch the trailer below.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.