On November 6, a 14-year-old girl named Khadama was rescued from slavery in the African country of Mauritania. But less than 12 hours after she reported her physical abuse to authorities, police returned her to her owner, who wasn't even questioned.
It's nothing short of an outrage that Khadama could be so betrayed by a system meant to protect her. Unfortunately, cases like Khadama's are all too common. For centuries, black Mauritanians have been born into slavery and treated as the property of their slave holders - a practice known as chattel slavery. Although slavery in Mauritania has been technically outlawed four times, the practice continues to thrive thanks to the Mauritanian government's complicity.
In the process of rescuing Khadama, SOS Slaves - an underground anti-slavery group based in Mauritania - discovered two more victims of slavery living under the same roof: Khadama's mother and her 12-year-old niece M'barka. When M'barka reported that her owner's nephew had raped and impregnated her, she was thrown in jail for "sexual misconduct". The nephew was free to go without questioning.
Now would be a good time to go over to the Anti-Slavery Website and use the facilities there to send some pungent e-mails to various people who might have some influence. It will only take a minute.