What steps can be taken to help reduce child-trafficking in Mauritania?

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Child-trafficking in Mauritania continues to force children into unsafe domestic labor. Children in Mauritania are being trafficked and supplied to countries such as Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo and Nigeria. Families in Mauritania stuck in difficult financial circumstances see no other solution than to give their child to those trafficking for laborers in hopes of their child returning with money. The difficulty here is the parents sometimes cannot see the full picture and their child not only does not get money but never returns. Children working as domestic servants are stuck there because they cannot pay to bail themselves out. According to a survey done in 2015, 41% of children in Mauritania are born without a birth certificate. The government requires proof of marriage and citizenship from the biological parents to grant a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, children cannot enroll in school leaving them at high risk for trafficking. The problem here is that proof of marriage should not determine whether or not a child should have a legal identity/birth certificate. On top of this issue, 68% of children are not enrolled in school leaving young boys at risk for labor trafficking and young girls faced with forced marriage. More needs to be done to protect the children of Mauritania because as of now the government is failing to keep them safe due to lack of financial resources and ability to force the law. 



Part of the reason for the 30.6 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa is lack of funding; however, this does not explain it all. Children without birth certificates cannot enroll in school. Paths to progress that need to be taken is first granting every child a birth certificate. Children born out of wedlock deserve equal rights and the right to enroll in school. Every child should be administered a birth certificate. This would protect children that are not allowed to enroll in school because these are the children being targeted by traffickers. Undocumented children can easily be taken compared to one that is protected in Mauritania.  



  • What are ways Mauritania’s government could better protect children?
  • How can more children be allowed access to school?
  • What steps should be taken to help to start making these changes?


  1. Taryn, I think you did an excellent job with your presentation. You covered how serious this topic is in not only Africa but all around the world. Your pictures go very nicely together with your beautiful question. Also in your video, I think you address your interest in this topic very well as well as give the right amount of background information for me to understand more about the topic. Good job Taryn!!

  2. Hi Taryn. Thanks for sharing your research. I am curious about what role NGOs or organizations like the UN are playing in supporting education in Mauritania. Did you encounter much about funding from non governmental sources in your research?

  3. Hi Taryn, I think you are so brave for approaching this topic. When I think of child trafficking I think of a giant, complex, global problem that is so difficult to tackle so I just want to say I appreciate you for focusing on it. To answer one of your questions, it seems to me bureaucratic roadblock that prevents children from entering school is one of the major problems. I wonder why the government does not want to make it easier for children to get birth certificates, it seems like that could really help the problem.

  4. Hey Taryn! This is a great presentation, you did so well! I think that one of the best ways to help more children be safe by attending school would be to implement better sex ed and female hygiene accessibility. This would help more girls attend schools, and helping them attend school is important for the entire population of children as a whole. When these women grow up with an education, they will help ensure their children also attend schools, and are all safer from child trafficking.

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