John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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The State of Slavery in Mauritania

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Bella woman stands behind her Tuareg master at a camp for Malian refugees in Goudebou, Burkina Faso, April 5, 2014. (Reuters/Misha Hussain)

Tyler Falish is a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development and a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

The Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are currently subject to modern slavery. Modern slavery can take the form of forced labor, domestic servitude, forced marriage, child slavery, and debt bondage, among other forms. Within this definition, it is estimated that India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have the highest prevalence of modern slavery. In Mauritania—a former French colony in the Maghreb—a conservative estimate suggests that 43,000 (just over 1 percent of the population of four million) Mauritanians are enslaved. Although this figure appears to indicate an impressive drop from a 2014 estimate of 140,000, the change may be due in large part to more robust statistical techniques and improvements in survey methodology. Precision aside, thousands of Mauritanians remain enslaved. Read more »