Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Mauritania

Cattle
Cattle
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Goats
Goats
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Mauritania
2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

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

In 2021, Mauritania made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In January 2022, the Ministry of Labor and Professional Education enacted a decree creating a hazardous work list, identifying 44 forbidden activities. Further, in a major shift in policy, anti-slavery non-governmental organizations were formally registered, allowing them to operate officially and legally. Lastly, Mauritania reported for the first time the number of labor inspections conducted. 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 address slavery and its vestiges during the reporting period. 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 the COVID-19 pandemic severely limited the government's ability to fully implement policies. Furthermore, social programs to address 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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