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The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is located in western North Africa. It is a country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. About 20 percent of Mauritania’s citizens live on less than $1.25 per day. Slavery is a major issue. Mauritania proportionally has the highest rate of slavery in the world, with more than 150,000 enslaved people. Enemies of the state are at particular risk for enslavement. Some higher estimates suggest that as many as 340,000 to 680,000 people are enslaved. Female genital mutilation, child labor, and human trafficking are also concerns in Mauritania.

Mauritania was part of French West Africa (from 1920 to 1960). The French prohibited slavery, but the practice still remains. During French rule, many people whose ancestors ...

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