What was the last place to abolish slavery?


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Many believe slavery was history from long into the past, but Mauritania in Northwest Africa only abolished slavery in 1981.

Kayla Xiong Vang, Staff writer

The end of slavery

In the 1860’s, the United States made slavery illegal. Around the world, countries made this choice over the last couple of centuries, but not all were quick to enact these decisions. While Americans experienced over 100 years of freedom, however, it wasn’t until 1981 when the last country in the world decided to follow our example.

Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa that continued the open practice of slavery well into the 20th century. “Since outlawing slavery in 1981, Mauritanian officials have publicly denied any presence of the practice in their borders,” the Borgen Project reads (https://rb.gy/mlkrnh). It looks good on paper, but it may not be as complete as their ultimate goal.

Although slavery has been made illegal in Mauritania, the country still faces acts of enslavement to their people. “Local rights groups estimate that up to 20% of the population is enslaved, with one in two Haratines forced to work on farms or in homes with no possibility of freedom, education or pay,” according to an article in The Guardian (https://rb.gy/vy7knb).

For many residents, there is no escape from slavery because their slave status is passed from generation to generation, and anti-slavery activists are regularly punished. The Guardian also includes that “.the government routinely denies that slavery exists in Mauritania, instead praising itself for eradicating the practice.”

Hope is not lost, however. The Borgen Project has provided ways to officially abolish slavery in Mauritania for good. “The approach that they and local anti-slavery organizations advocate addresses not only slavery but also the issues at its roots: poverty, famine, lack of citizenship or legal rights, obstructions of justice and persecution of activists,” it reads. To officially bring freedom to the people, “all they are missing is unity and resources.”

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