Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mauritania

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mauritania, 5 June 2006, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Mauritania (Tier 2 Watch List)

Mauritania is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Mauritanian boys are trafficked within the country by religious leaders, called marabouts, for forced begging. These boys, called talibes, often work for up to 12 hours or more a day. Mauritanian girls are trafficked within Mauritania and to Mali for domestic servitude. Both adults and children are subjected to slavery-related practices rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships in isolated parts of the country where a barter economy exists.

The Government of Mauritania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Mauritania is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increased efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement, over the last year. Mauritania failed to adequately identify and pursue cases of child domestic servitude and apply its anti-trafficking statute to such cases. To improve its anti-trafficking response, Mauritania should strengthen efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and provide protection for victims of involuntary domestic servitude.


The Government of Mauritania showed minimal progress in its law enforcement efforts, with only two investigations of child domestic servitude during the year. Mauritanian law prohibits slavery and trafficking in persons. In December 2005, the Ministry of Justice created a technical commission charged with implementing these laws. The Military Council also issued a decree reinforcing the protection of children. The government hosted two workshops to train officials on how to identify, investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases. Despite these advances, during the reporting period the government conducted a weak investigation into allegations of two girls subjected to forced domestic labor and sexual abuse. Notwithstanding several reports that the girls were restricted from going to school, were not paid, and were abused, the government failed to consider them victims under the nation's anti-trafficking law.


The Government of Mauritania's efforts to care for victims of trafficking were mixed. It continued to demonstrate a solid commitment to protecting talibe trafficking victims and providing economic programs for former slaves, but it demonstrated insufficient efforts to protect trafficking victims in domestic servitude. In 2005, the government continued operating six centers in Nouakchott established in 2004, providing shelter, food, limited medical care, and job training for 1,037 indigent people, many of whom were talibes. The government continued providing economic development programs to vulnerable communities, specifically targeting regions with high concentrations of former slaves.


The Government of Mauritania demonstrated significant efforts to raise awareness about trafficking over the last year. The government sponsored several informational fora to increase awareness of anti-trafficking laws and the rights of women and children working in large urban households. The government created a National Commission for Human Rights tasked with coordinating government efforts to prevent trafficking and formed a migration unit to address refugee trafficking. The government hosted two workshops for government officials and civil society representatives to publicize the anti-trafficking and labor law.

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