LAGOS Reuters - Blessing was only six years old when her mother arranged for her to become an unpaid housemaid for a family in the Nigerian city of Abuja, on the promise they would put her through school. In her home town in southwest Nigeria, her mother had trouble making enough money to feed her three children. But when Blessing arrived in Abuja, instead of going to school, the family worked her round-the-clock, beat her with an electrical wire if she forgot one of her chores and fed her rotten leftovers. When her mother later moved to the city to be closer to her daughter, Blessing was unable to be alone with her when she came to visit. As the world marks years since the first recorded African slaves arrived in North America, slavery remains a modern-day scourge.
Human Rights Law Review : 1— This political exclusion enables those in power to maintain the status quo. Slavery and the misuse of Islam Slaves are told that, under Islam, their paradise is bound to their master, and that if they do what the master tells them, they will go to heaven. For many years, Niger was primarily a transit country for Crisis pregnancy centers nj trafficking, but was limited as a source or destination country. The minimum estimate is that 43, people are in slavery across Niger. What follows is a background document on slavery in Niger compiled by Anti-Slavery International. A further 12 were released in She was probably four, at most Slavery in niger years old, when she became the property of a high-ranking nomadic family.
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More info OK. Sitewide Bestsellers by Budget. Which Halloween Candy wins? She and her three children were brought to Niamey by soldiers after she managed to escape from her master in the desert. Please include your name and country Slavery in niger your reply. Slavery in the Niger. Unlike Damagaram and Bornu regions, any slave could be freed by their master in Zarma practices. ECOWAS rejected the domestic exhaustion standard for a case to be brought to it and Slavery in niger the Barcelona Traction International Court of Justice case as precedent to find that slavery required Fag queer attention by all organs of the state. Today in the Democratic Republic Arizona mistress the Congo the indigenous people are usually victims of their Bantu neighbors, who have replaced the positions once held by Europeans. More Discussions. All slaves are black Africans, whose ancestors were captured in slave raids and who "remain trapped in hereditary slavery.
What follows is a background document on slavery in Niger compiled by Anti-Slavery International.
- The continent of Africa is one of the regions most rife with contemporary slavery.
- Muslim men are allowed to have 4 wives under Islamic law.
- What follows is a background document on slavery in Niger compiled by Anti-Slavery International.
- But I knew this was the only way to protect my child from suffering the same fate as myself.
LAGOS Reuters - Blessing was only six years old when her mother arranged for her to become an unpaid housemaid for a family in the Nigerian city of Abuja, on the promise they would put her through school. In her home town in southwest Nigeria, her mother had trouble making enough money to feed her three children. But when Blessing arrived in Abuja, instead of going to school, the family worked her round-the-clock, beat her with an electrical wire if she forgot one of her chores and fed her rotten leftovers.
When her mother later moved to the city to be closer to her daughter, Blessing was unable to be alone with her when she came to visit. As the world marks years since the first recorded African slaves arrived in North America, slavery remains a modern-day scourge. Over 40 million people are estimated to be trapped in forced labor, forced marriages or other forms of sexual exploitation, according to the United Nations.
Blessing, now 11, is one such victim. Africa has the highest prevalence of slavery, with more than seven victims for every 1, people, according to a report by human rights group Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Office. Trafficking of sex workers, many of them tricked into thinking they will get employment doing something else, is one of the most widespread and abusive forms of modern-day slavery.
She left Nigeria with three other girls she did not know in June Osadolor, now 28, says she was forced into prostitution and suffered internal injuries after being made to sleep with up to 20 men a day. She was trapped for three years, with the madam coming round every two weeks to take almost all of her money. She cries as she recounts the trauma and her relief at escaping thanks to a chance meeting with a representative of the International Organization for Migration IOM at a metro station.
Osadolor has been able to reintegrate into society after training as a tailor back in Benin with the support of Nigerian charity Pathfinders Justice Initiative. Omovhie, 33, also found herself enslaved after leaving Nigeria in in search of work. The intended final destination of people smuggled across Africa like this is often Europe, but few make it that far.
Many are jailed or sold as indentured laborers when they get to Libya. Some are even sold on slave markets, according to aid groups - a chilling echo of the trans-Saharan slave trade of centuries past. Once in Libya, Omovhie says she started working long hours as a cleaner for a well-off Arab family in Tripoli, often on an empty stomach.
Another agent promised to help Omovhie escape by sending her to Italy, but she was rounded up by police on the Libyan coast and detained there for six months. She returned to Nigeria in July under a state program to help refugees and migrants.
It has helped over 14, Nigerians return home since Discover Thomson Reuters. Directory of sites. United States. World News. Angela Ukomadu , Nneka Chile.
Meni served two. Namespaces Article Talk. Although these communities had some significant liberties, their harvest, products, and children were closely controlled by a Tuareg noble. Ousame has been living in the capital of the country for nearly ten years. And perhaps most terrible of all, any children these slave girls bear belong to their masters who can dispose of them as he wishes.
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Modern day slavery still rampant in Niger | Africa | DW |
Slavery in Niger involves a number of different practices which have been practiced in the Sahel region for many centuries and which persist to this day. The Bornu Empire in the eastern part of Niger was an active part of the trans-Saharan slave trade for hundreds of years.
Other ethnic groups in the country similarly had a history of slavery, although this varied and in some places slavery was largely limited to the political and economic elite. When the French took control of the area they largely ignored the problem and only actively banned the trade in slaves but not the practices of slavery.
Following independence, many of the major slave holders became prominent political leaders in both the multiparty democracy period and the military dictatorship until , and so the problem of slavery was largely ignored. In , with pressure from the anti-slavery organization Timidria , Niger passed the first law in Western Africa that criminalized slavery as a specific crime. Despite this, slavery persists throughout the different ethnic groups in the country, women are particularly vulnerable, and a census confirmed the existence of 43, slaves and estimated that the total population could be over , people.
The landmark Mani v. Niger case was one of the first instances where a person won a judgement against the government of Niger in an international court for sanctioning her slave status in official decisions. Slavery existed throughout what is today Niger and the region played a pivotal role in the trans-Saharan slave trade for many centuries. In some ethnic groups, slavery became a significant phenomenon and made up a large part of the population and the economic production and trade.
In other areas, slavery remained small and were only held by the elite in the communities. However, since political leaders often were slave-holders, they presented a significant hurdle for French authorities when they colonized the area and in post-independence Niger. The trade through Bornu was small-scale for many centuries but remained steady before reaching its peak in the s.
Starting in the s, the Jukun confederation , a collection of pagan peoples, began challenging the Bornu empire. The result was a series of retaliatory slave raids between the two powers with each feeding the slave trade to the coast the West African slave market for the Jukun and the North African markets for Bornu.
With the decline of the Bornu empire in the 17th and 18th centuries, slaves became a more significant part of the domestic economy with the creation of both slave villages and slave plantations throughout the empire.
In terms of domestic use, agricultural work figured the most prominently. Women were the highest valued domestically, to a large part because of cultural practices which dictated that only first generation slaves could earn their freedom, and that the children of slaves never could become free.
As a result, women of child bearing age, whose children would all be slaves for life, were particularly valuable. Beginning in the 18th century but particularly in the 19th century, the Sultanate of Damagaram , located in the present-day city of Zinder , became a political rival to the Bornu empire.
As the Sultanate increased in power, the Sultan began to replace nobles in his court with slave administrators, which increased his ability to rule without interference by others. Elsewhere in Niger, slavery was practiced in a variety of different ways. In the Zarma speaking regions in the west of Niger, slavery provided the crucial workforce in agriculture. Unlike Damagaram and Bornu regions, any slave could be freed by their master in Zarma practices.
In Northern Niger, in the present regions of Tahoua and Agadez , there are no signs of large-scale indigenous practices of slavery before the Tuareg entered the area in the s. Since the light-skinned Tuaregs were the only slave holders and the dark-skinned indigenous population was largely held in servitude, the division of society between free and slaves adopted a racial division in these regions. Because of the rugged terrain with severe drought effects, and because of their participation in the trans-Saharan trade, the Tuareg used a form of slavery where communities of slaves would tend animals and do limited agriculture and would be allowed to move freely around an area.
Although these communities had some significant liberties, their harvest, products, and children were closely controlled by a Tuareg noble. In the Hausa societies in central Niger, slavery was primarily practiced in royal courts and thus of a limited nature.
However, the Maradi mostly took slaves for ransom and domestic slavery was usually only used by the aristocracy and people of power. When the French took over the region in the early s they had a policy banning the existence of slavery.
However local French administrators usually resisted pressure to abolish slavery from the colonial and metropolitan governments. French administrators would take credit for abolishing slavery by simply ignoring its continued existence or claiming that the bonds were voluntary. Our civilization has not penetrated deeply enough for the natives, both masters and slaves, to understand and accept any measures towards the outright elimination of slavery.
During World War I, in order to meet quotas of troops to the French army, traditional chiefs supplied slaves to the colonial administration.
Traditional chiefs, who had been major slave owners particularly in Tuareg communities, became prominent leaders of the country after independence. They held positions in government and were the leaders of many of the major parties during the brief multi-party period of the country. These prominent positions of slave-holders continued during the military dictatorship where the regional chiefs were relied upon for support of that government. As a result, slavery was largely an ignored issue by the government for the early decades of independence.
Slavery continues to exist in Niger today. The most significant survey of slavery in Niger identified 11, respondents throughout the country who were identified as being slaves. Using further responses from these a partial sample revealed 43, slaves. Further extrapolating from this information, and including the children of slaves, the anti-slavery organization Timidria estimated a possible total of , slaves both chattel slaves and passive slaves in Niger in — A report by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women found that "slavery is a living reality among virtually all ethnic groups, especially the Tuaregs, the Arabs and the nomadic Fulani" and the report also identifies the Hausa.
Anti-Slavery International identifies three different types of slavery practiced in Niger today: chattel slavery , a "milder form" of slavery where former slaves are forced to give some of their crops to a former master, and wahaya a form of concubinage involving the purchase of young girls to do household chores and as sexual servants of their masters. More prominent is the second type of slavery, sometimes called "passive slavery", where former slaves retain some tributary and forced labor relationship to former masters.
Individual freedoms are still controlled in this form and people can be violently beaten or otherwise punished for disobeying former masters. Wahaya is a unique form of slavery currently in practice in Niger and parts of Nigeria which involves the sale of young girls the majority before the age of 15 who are born into slavery in Tuareg communities and then sold to wealthy and prominent Hausa individuals as an unofficial "fifth wife. They are considered fifth wives because they are in addition to the four wives a person can legally have in Niger according to Islamic tradition and are considered subservient to the official wives.
Although slavery is rare in urban environments, social pressure and social prohibitions on marriages of the descendants of slaves with the descendants of free persons creates a caste system which separates people even where slavery no longer exists.
Human trafficking has become an increasing problem in Niger in recent years. For many years, Niger was primarily a transit country for human trafficking, but was limited as a source or destination country. Although the Constitution of Niger declares all people equal, there was no law specifically against slavery or any criminal offense for enslaving another human in Niger until 5 May The French directives of and , which were part of the Nigerien legal corpus after independence, pertained solely to the slave trade and did not stop domestic servitude or hereditary slavery.
In , the new law was passed which did criminalize slavery with a maximum prison sentence of up to 30 years. Two years later, there was a plan for a significant number of public ceremonies where Tuareg slaveholders would formally free their slaves. However, apparently fearing bad publicity, right before the event happened, the government sent a delegation through the Tuareg areas threatening punishment for any public manumissions.
The government claimed that the public ceremony was changed because no one is enslaved in the country anymore so it was not necessary. Nobody has told me they have seen slaves. If someone has slaves they must tell me. Mani v. In , Naroua signed a formal document freeing Mani, but then declared that she was his wife and prevented her from leaving his house.
Mani received an initial judgement freeing her from the marriage on 20 March because, the court declared, there was never a religious ceremony marrying the two. This ruling was then reversed at a higher level and the case moved all the way to the Supreme Court. The court held that she was still legally married to Naroua and used her slave status as a justification for the marriage. Niger's main argument was that the case was inadmissible to the ECOWAS court because domestic options had not been exhausted for remedying the situation.
In terms of the case, Niger argued that although slavery still existed, they had made gains against it and it was largely being limited. ECOWAS rejected the domestic exhaustion standard for a case to be brought to it and used the Barcelona Traction International Court of Justice case as precedent to find that slavery required special attention by all organs of the state.
After the ruling, the government of Niger said they accepted the ruling with a Nigerien government lawyer in the case announcing that "A ruling has been made, we have taken note of it and it will be applied. The main social movement dedicated to the issue of slavery and post-slave discrimination in Niger is Timidria, a non-governmental organization founded by Ilguilas Weila and other intellectuals on 15 May Its name means fraternity or solidarity in Tamajaq.
The organization holds regular congresses and organizes a host of different events to raise prominence to the issue of slavery in Niger and fight for its eradication. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Slavery Contemporary. By country or region. Opposition and resistance. Abolitionism U. Main article: Human trafficking in Niger. Main article: Timidria. Anti-Slavery International. Retrieved 8 February London: Cambridge University Press.
London: Cambridge. In Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff ed. Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. The Journal of African History.
Human Rights Law Review : 1— Archived from the original PDF on Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Guardian. United States Department of State. International Labor Organisation.
Christian Science Monitor. Republic of Niger. Judgment No. The American Journal of International Law. Agence France Presse. Slavery in Africa.