Mauritania has made commitments but little progress in freeing the enslaved, helping survivors, punishing perpetrators, protecting the vulnerable, and ending slavery’s root causes. Our project provides legal assistance to marginialized groups, and helps hold government officials accountable.

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Slavery in Mauritania

Approximately 90,000 people, two percent of Mauritania’s population, are held in conditions of modern slavery.

Slavery in Mauritania dates back centuries, when Arab Berbers raided and enslaved Black Africans settled along the Senegal River, forcing them to the bottom of a race-based social system.

The Arab Berber elite and light-skinned Moors, who make up about one third of the population, continue race-based slavery today. This form of slavery is largely descent-driven, where dark-skinned Haratines are bonded to the family of those who enslaved them. Many are unaware that their exploitation is illegal, and in some cases, slavery survivors continue to serve their slaveholders after obtaining freedom out of “gratefulness and habit.” Their lack of access to education, decent labor, justice, political representation, and other rights is amplified by widespread systemic racism.

Our Solutions in Mauritania

Free the Slaves is building social inclusion of structurally and historically marginalized groups. This project focuses on the Haratines and other marginalized communities while supporting a broad, multilevel anti-slavery movement for accountability, in which Mauritania upholds its commitments enshrined in domestic law and international obligations.

Our objectives:

  • Marginalized racial communities are engaged with their rights via a new platform that includes traditional and social media content
  • Networks of civil society, lawyers, and community organizations are established for local advocacy, to hold the government accountable, and to foster a culture of human rights
  • An international alliance of global civil society and national governments is holding the Mauritanian government accountable to its global commitments to uphold the rule of law.


Our Partners in Mauritania

Free the Slaves collaborates with…

The Latest From Mauritania

Champions of Justice in Mauritania

In Mauritania, a country where the shadows of poverty linger and the remnants of slavery still impact lives, a dedicated team of paralegals from Free the Slaves (FTS) are tirelessly working to shed light on the path toward justice and human rights. Through their...

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Tackling Modern Slavery through Knowledge

Free the Slaves (FTS), in its unwavering commitment to eradicate modern slavery, recently conducted a transformative two-day training session in partnership with ALCD, generously supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. Held on August 25-26, 2023, the event...

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Capacity Building in Mauritania

Capacity Building in Mauritania

This post was written by Dame Ba, Mauritania Program Coordinator Free the Slaves is working hard trying to change the conditions that allow slavery to persist. That’s why we're continuing our work in Mauritania to promote social inclusion and prevent the...

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