Slavery existed in the Sahel before the Transatlantic Slave Trade and endured beyond its abolitions. To this day.
On September 1, 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, four anti-slavery activists were murdered in western Mali for their work against descent-based slavery—a form of slavery considered hereditary, which in its worst forms manifests in forced labor without pay, denial of education, and civil rights abuses. This practice has a long history in colonial and contemporary Mali and West Africa where people with alleged “enslaved ancestors” live at the bottom of the social ladder, facing discrimination and social exclusion on a daily basis. As forced migrants and newcomers escaping wars or economic deprivation, having been sold into slavery or not, their ancestors were ascribed the status to be treated as a slave by those in power. … Read more