Modern Slavery in Mauritania: Interview with Erin Pettigrew

Erin Pettigrew Talks About Modern Slavery in Mauritania

  • Published on
    August 18, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
Hero Banner

In 1981, Mauritania was the last country to abolish slavery.  Still, the practice was only finally criminalized in 2007.  Indeed, today modern slavery in Mauritania is more prevalent than in any other country on earth. The World Policy Journal interviewed Erin Pettigrew, a professor of history and Arab crossroads studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, regarding the nature and evolution of slavery in Mauritania, as well as the future of the modern abolition movement.

“WORLD POLICY JOURNAL: What does modern slavery in Mauritania look like in terms of its economic and social structures? How does it compare to historical slavery?

ERIN PETTIGREW: This is one of the biggest and most difficult questions. When people hear the word “slavery,” especially in an American context, they attach a very black-and-white (both metaphorically and racially) meaning to the term. In the American context, people understand slavery to be about big plantations and a form of chattel slavery that existed in North and South America. But in Mauritania and West Africa, and across the African continent, there are multiple forms of slavery, and it isn’t as simple as the racial dichotomy people have in mind. Today, what people call slavery depends a lot on who you are talking to. Generally, in Mauritania, what I would describe as slavery isn’t something most of us could easily identify as chattel slavery, in which a person is physically purchased, as happened in the Americas.”

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

European cocaine gangs using forced labor to exploit children

A recent investigation by The Guardian found the continent’s £10bn appetite for cocaine has led to forced child labor on an equally massive scale. Increasingly powerful drug cartels are forcing hundreds, possibly thousands, of unaccompanied child migrants to work as drug sellers on European streets. They do this to meet the growing demand for cocaine in cities including Paris and Brussels. Industrial scale exploitation The increase in refugees

| Tuesday June 11, 2024

Read more