Although Mauritania has enacted laws that criminalize slavery and punish slave masters, this phenomena continues to exist especially in remote areas, the government fails to provide appropriate conditions to eradicate this phenomena but keeps on stalling in enforcing the laws and protects the enslavers, even the president of the country denies its existence, and the latest case of slavery and human trafficking discovered in Mauritania is the story I’m about to narrate in this blog which talks of two Mauritanian girls who escaped from their renter to whom they were rented by their enslaver:
Meymouna, tears in her eyes, says, We were informed by our enslaver that we were rented to some wealthy person in the remote district of Nbeikt Lahwash; Upon our arrival to our new master he told us that work will be hard and we have to be raised in hardship so we can have the endurance it takes to do our work, and that our new job will be a camel herder for myself and a shepherd for my little sister. We set off to work, all day long under the burning rays of the sun chasing camels. Our master wouldn’t allow us to take water with us with the excuse that we have to learn to endure.
We faced torture and were denied eating and drinking for two days upon the slightest mistake we make, when for example a camel or a goat is missing, and we were not allowed to sit with the family members. As for clothing, there was no need for it in the first place but he brought us clothes almost every two years, and he was keen on humiliating us regularly, he did not see in us a human being that deserved to live.
Meymouna adds that she was a victim of rape while she was in pasture by some other camel herder in a desert far from the village where she lives. Her masters and employers didn’t phase and never acknowledge it considering it normal for her kind and no need to blame let alone punish the poor camel herder. But Meymouna insists today that she will not give up her right in punishing the man responsible whatever it costs.
This story brings to memory the story of Mbarke Mint Esatim who was a victim of recurrent rape by her masters while authorities insisted on taking no action against them simply because they are related to the president of the country.
These stories are only a drop in the sea, for in Mauritania Anti-Slavery Organizations continue to uncover cases of slavery but the government keeps turning a blind eye.
No clear programs are put in place to rescue the enslaved from their misery, nor to better the conditions of the previously enslaved who suffer under the heavy foot of poverty, illiteracy, and deprivation. Human rights activists who uncover cases of slavery are subject to continuous harassment and imprisonment and the last example is the arrest of activist in the east of Mauritania and putting them in the worst conditions where a leaked picture showed one of them stripped naked and tied in one of the places they were held in.
by : ahmed jedou
Translated by :Mohamed Ould Mohamed Salem