Our work in Mauritania
Anti-Slavery International and its local partner SOS Esclaves's work in Mauritania focuses mainly on supporting people who escape from slavery, providing initial financial support and shelter, help into long term training and provide low interest, small business loans so they can become financially independent, as well as help to release family members who are still in slavery.
To that effect we are working to expand and train the network of SOS-Esclaves’ members based in various parts of the country, so they can support people escaping slavery in their local areas more effectively.
We also offer a legal assistance to prosecute former ‘masters’. Taking cases to courts is very difficult, as although slavery was criminalised in 2007, only one slave owner was successfully prosecuted with a sentence well below the stipulated minimum. He was also released on bail pending his appeal which has never taken place - essentially setting him free.
We have over 50 cases going through the courts right now, although progress on them is very slow.
We also lobby the government to get serious about implementing laws and policies protecting people in slavery. Although the government has taken steps towards ending slavery through the road map and the establishment of a dedicated agency, these declarative steps have not yet been translated into real action.
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" I never went to school even though the mistress’s children did." Meriéme, age unknown.
“I was born a slave at my master’s place. When my master died I remained with his children.” Meriéme Mint Hamadi, 40.