The application of the 2015 anti-slavery law in Mauritania

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Slavery persists to this day in Mauritania, predominantly affecting Haratins, many of whom continue to work as slaves for White Moors or Beidanes. To date, there has been no internal or external official inquiry or study to ascertain even an approximate figure for the number of people still subjected to slavery. What is certain is that there is still a large group of people in this situation, many of whom are in a situation of slavery by descent, sometimes known as ‘traditional slavery’.

However, while the racial dimension is part of the phenomenon, it is also linked to the caste system and the economy. Slavery was abolished in 1980 after a long struggle, through the adoption of an order by Mauritania. However, for 26 years, no criminal law was enacted to enforce this order. This report seeks to explain how the legal system in Mauritania is structured to combat slavery and attempt to analyse the effectiveness of this system through the implementation of Law 2015-031 on the Criminalization of Slavery and the Punishment of Slavery Practices.

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