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Facts About Slavery in Mauritania.png

 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 Global Slavery Index consistently ranks Mauritania as among the nations with the highest percentage on Earth of its own people living in slavery.  However, Mauritania is unique in that race and descent based slavery is still widespread and laws addressing it are rarely enforced.

  • Estimate of enslaved people in Mauritania: 149,000 (Global Slavery Index / 2021)

  • Slavery technically abolished in 1981

  • Slavery technically criminalized in 2007

  • Population of Mauritania: 4,615,000

  • Location:  West Africa (Sahel Region)

  • Size: 398,000 Square Miles (approximately 50% larger than the US State of Texas)

  • Capital:  Nouakchott (Population of Nouakchott metropolitan region: 1,492,000)

  • Land: More than 75% of Mauritania is desert or semi-desert.  The amount of arable land is less than half of one percent.

  • Chief exports:  Iron (44 percent of total exports) followed by fish, oil, gold and copper. (More information)

  • UN Human Development Index rank among nations: 158 (More information)

  • Malnutrition: Widespread with more than 340,000 people in need of nutrition assistance. Over 470,000 children (27%) live in extreme poverty. It is estimated that over 136,000 children will face acute malnutrition, including more than 32,700 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.  (More information)

  • Life expectancy: 64.53 years

Read the complete Global Slavery Index profile on Mauritania here.

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