Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Mauritania

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Cattle
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Goats
Goats
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Mauritania
2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

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

In 2020, Mauritania made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government passed a new NGO law (No. 2021-004) that eased requirements for registering non-governmental organizations, potentially helping advance human rights and anti-slavery organizations to be officially recognized. The government also adopted a new Human Trafficking Law (No. 2020/17), and amended the Law on Migrant Smuggling (No. 2010-021) that will support efforts to combat trafficking and addressing smuggling of migrants. However, despite new initiatives to address child labor, Mauritania is assessed as having made only minimal advancement because it continued to implement a policy and a practice that delays advancement to eliminate 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. The government prosecuted four defendants and convicted three traffickers in slavery-related cases in the Nouadhibou Anti-Slavery Court, but the government did not initiate any new investigations in 2020. 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 are subjected to 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, a lack of financial resources and mitigation measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 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. Moreover, the government did not publish comprehensive information about its labor law enforcement efforts.

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