Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Mauritania

Cattle
Cattle
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Goats
Goats
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Mauritania
2019 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement – Efforts Made but Continued Policy and Practice that Delayed Advancement

In 2019, Mauritania made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. Unlike previous years when the government did not adequately prosecute or secure convictions in slavery cases, the government investigated, prosecuted, and convicted 12 perpetrators in 3 cases of slavery during the reporting period. In addition, it created and funded a new agency, Taazour, to assist vulnerable populations, including communities of slave descent. The government also revised laws on trafficking in persons and eased requirements for registering non-governmental organizations. However, despite making meaningful efforts in all relevant areas during the reporting period, Mauritania is receiving an assessment of minimal advancement because it continued to implement a policy and a practice that delayed advancement in eliminating the worst forms of child labor. Although there were indications of progress, criminal law enforcement authorities did not make adequate efforts to combat slavery and its vestiges during the reporting period. Specifically, prosecution and convictions in slavery cases are isolated, and reports continue to indicate that some government actors, including police and judicial authorities, are unwilling to pursue such cases. In addition, since 2011, the government has required proof of marriage and biological parents’ citizenship for children to obtain a birth certificate. As a result, children born out of wedlock and many Haratine and Sub-Saharan ethnic minority children, including those of slave descent, have been prevented from being registered at birth. Because birth certificates are required for enrollment in secondary school in Mauritania, children as young as age 12 cannot access education, making them more vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. Children in Mauritania engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in indentured and hereditary slavery. Children also perform dangerous tasks in agriculture, particularly in herding cattle and goats. The government did not make sufficient efforts to enforce some laws related to the worst forms of child labor, including laws on hereditary slavery. In addition, lack of financial resources severely limited the government's ability to fully implement policies, and social programs to combat the worst forms of child labor are insufficient to adequately address the extent of the problem.

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