Mauritania: Slavery's Last Stronghold

Number 25604
Subject Slavery
Source CNN
State Africa
Year 2012
Publication Date 03/2012
Summary Two CNN Digital reporters traveled to Mauritania -- a West African nation that became the last country in the world to abolish slavery – to document a practice the Mauritanian government denies still exists. Spending nearly a year to gain entry into the country and conducting many of their interviews at night and in covert locations, John Sutter and Edythe McNamee went to great lengths to uncover the tragedy of multigenerational servitude in Mauritania. They met people who’ve never known freedom; people who escaped slavery to find their lives hadn't changed; and abolitionists who have been fighting against slavery for years with minimal results. It was only five years ago -- in 2007 -- that the country finally passed a law that making slavery a crime. So far, only one slave owner has been convicted. The United Nations estimates 10% to 20% of Mauritanians live in slavery today. But the country continues to deny slavery’s existence and attempted to subvert Sutter’s and McNamee’s reporting by assigning to them a government “minder.” Nonetheless, the two succeeded at putting a face on a shocking practice that is similar to slavery in America before the Civil War, in which people are born into slavery and rarely escape. Their report – “Slavery’s Last Stronghold” -- featured a variety of mediums, including personal video accounts and written stories featuring firsthand accounts from freed slaves and one man’s transformative journey from slave owner to abolitionist. It also included related stories – such as the story of escaped Mauritanian slaves now living in Ohio. In response to the initiative, CNN iReport, the network’s global participatory news community, gathered messages of hope and support to be shared at a school for escaped slaves in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords slavery; Mauritania; Africa; freedom
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