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 Important Facts 

Anti-Slavery International on Mauritania

Please read our partner organization Anti-Slavery International’s excellent fact sheet on descent-based slavery in Mauritania.

​Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest international human rights organization.  Its origins stem from abolitionists in the British parliament who began organizing against slavery in the late 1700s.  Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. 

Additional Facts

  • The Walk Free Foundation’s first Global Slavery Index ranked Mauritania as the nation with the highest percentage on Earth of its own people enslaved.

  • Estimate of enslaved people in Mauritania: 90,000 (Global Slavery Index)

  • Slavery technically abolished in 1981

  • Slavery technically criminalized in 2007

  • U.S. State Department Annual Trafficking in Persons Ranking: (June 25, 2020) Tier Two Watch List

  • Chief Concerns of the U.S. State Department Annual Human Rights Report (March 11, 2020): “Significant human rights issues included allegations of torture by law enforcement officers; arbitrary and politically motivated arrests; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; sporadic restrictions on freedom of assembly; restrictions on freedom of association and religion; widespread corruption; crimes of violence against women and girls, which the government took little action to prevent or prosecute; criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct; continued existence of slavery and slavery-related practices with antislavery organizations subjected to restrictions; trafficking in persons; and child labor.”

  • Gross National Income per person per year: $3,746 / $10.26 per day compared to $56,140 / $153.81 per day in the United States

  • UN Human Development Index rank: 161 (behind Syria and Zimbabwe)

  • UN Human Development Index score: .527 / United States: .920

  • Children aged 6-11 enrolled in primary school: 55%

  • Mean years of schooling: 4.6

  • Population with access to electric lighting: 38%

  • Life expectancy: 64.7 / United States: 78.9

  • Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania with a population of 1,314,636

Photos in Mauritania by Michael Hylton for Anti-Slavery International

Photos in Chicago by Jason Jones

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