Slavery in Mauritania
Slavery in Mauritania is an entrenched phenomenon the national government has repeatedly tried to abolish, banning the practice in 1905, 1981, and August 2007. The descendants of black Africans abducted into slavery now live in Mauritania as "black Moors" or haratin and partially still serve the "white Moors", or bidhan, as slaves.
The number of slaves in the country was not known exactly, but is was estimated to be up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population  of 3,069,000 people. Even though slavery is illegal, sociologist Kevin Bales believes that Mauritania is the country with the largest proportion of its population in slavery.
Mauritanian organizations like El Hor (translated as "free man") and SOS Esclaves (meaning "SOS Slaves" in French) work against slavery.
A United Nations mission, headed by UN Special Rapporteur and mission leader Gulnara Shahinian, was in Mauritania in November 2009 to evaluate slavery practices in the country. The mission's findings will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2010.
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