The Mauritanian government officially abolished slavery in 1981, but there are still an estimated 155,000 people who are indentured as modern day slaves.
Many of those who have been set free in recent years continue to face widespread discrimination, violence and social injustice.
Click here to see IRIN's photo feature on some former female slaves, known as the Haratines, who are now speaking out about their lives, then and now.
Help make quality journalism about crises possible
The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.
Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story.
We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises. Become a member of The New Humanitarian today.