Mauritania seeks to end slavery with creation of special court

Dec. 31, 2013 at 4:57 PM

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Mauritania, the last country in the world to abolish slavery, will prosecute those in the slavery trade, a judicial committee announced.

The committee, chaired by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, met Monday and "decided to create a court to try crimes of slavery," the Mauritanian Information Agency said.

The African country abolished slavery in 1981, and its practice has been considered a crime since 2012.

Forced labor is a sensitive issue in Mauritania, where anti-slavery organizations have argued the government has failed to acknowledge the extent of the slave trade, the online Middle East News Agency reported.

There are charities to help former slaves, but the government did not establish its first such agency until March, the report said.

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