In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery. Activists are arrested for fighting the practice. The government denies it exists. “On this land, everybody is exploited.” The vast Saharan nation didn’t make slavery a crime until 2007. Only one slave owner has been successfully prosecuted.
CNN An estimated 10% to 20% of Mauritania’s 3.4 million people are enslaved — in “real slavery,” according to the United Nations’ special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Gulnara Shahinian. If that’s not unbelievable enough, consider that Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery. That happened in 1981, nearly 120 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. It wasn’t until five years ago, in 2007, that Mauritania passed a law that criminalized the act of owning another person. So far, only one case has been successfully prosecuted.