Slavery in Modern Islam


By Bernie on 21 Sep 2010


white slavery in Islam
More images at White Slavery Gallery

Slavery has been abolished in almost every country in the world. However, the practice still continues in a number of countries.

  1. Mauritania is 100% Muslim

    It is also a country with the largest proportion of its population in slavery, about 20% of the population. From Wikipedia:

    Slavery in Mauritania is an entrenched phenomenon the national government has repeatedly tried to abolish, banning the practice in 1905, 1981, and August 2007. The descendants of black Africans abducted into slavery now live in Mauritania as "black Moors" or haratin and partially still serve the "white Moors", or bidhan (Arab Muslims), as slaves.

    The number of slaves in the country was not known exactly, but is was estimated to be up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population of 3,069,000 people. Even though slavery is illegal, sociologist Kevin Bales believes that Mauritania is the country with the largest proportion of its population in slavery.



  2. Sudan is 70% Muslim

    According to Wikipedia:

    Slavery in the Sudan predates Islam, but continued under Islamic rulers and has never completely died out in Sudan. In the Sudan, Christian and animist captives in the civil war are often enslaved, and female prisoners are often used sexually, with their Muslim captors claiming that Islamic law grants them permission.

    According to CBS news, slaves have been sold for $50 a piece. In 2001 CNN reported the Bush administration was under pressure from Congress, including conservative Christians concerned about religious oppression and slavery, to address issues involved in the Sudanese conflict. CNN has also quoted the U.S. State Department's allegations: "The [Sudanese] government's support of slavery and its continued military action which has resulted in numerous deaths are due in part to the victims' religious beliefs.



  3. Mali is 90% Muslim

    According to the U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009:

    Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. In Mali, victims are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers, agricultural zones, and artisanal mining sites. Victims are also trafficked between Mali and other West African countries. Some notable destination countries for Malian child victims are Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Niger, and Nigeria.

    Women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution, while boys are trafficked for forced begging and forced labor in gold mines and agricultural settings both within Mali and to neighboring countries. Reports in the last year indicate that Malian boys and girls are trafficked to Senegal and Guinea for labor in gold mines and to Cote d’Ivoire for forced labor on cotton and cocoa farms. Boys from Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and other countries are trafficked by Koranic masters within Mali and across borders for forced begging and other forms of forced labor.

    Adult men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to the longstanding practice of debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali. Some members of Mali’s black Tamachek community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices rooted in hereditary master-slave relationships.


  4. Chad is 53% Muslim

    According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

    IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports children being sold to Arab herdsmen in Chad. As part of a new identity imposed on them the herdsmen "...change their name, forbid them to speak in their native dialect, ban them from conversing with people from their own ethnic group and make them adopt Islam as their religion.



  5. Niger is 80% Muslim

    According to Wikipedia:

    In Niger, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study found that almost 8% of the population are still slaves. Slavery dates back for centuries in Niger and was finally criminalised in 2003, after five years of lobbying by Anti-Slavery International and the Nigerian human-rights group Timidria. More than 870,000 people still live in conditions of forced labour, according to Timidria, a local human rights group.



  6. Nigeria is 75% Muslim

    At least one million Nigerian children are sold into internal and external slavery annually, according to experts who say this has put the country on an odious list of the world’s eight worst abusers of the rights of children.

    According to U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009:

    Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

    Within Nigeria, women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked for forced labor in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries, and as domestic servants. Religious teachers also traffic boys, called almajiri, for forced begging. Women, girls, and boys are trafficked from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, primarily Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Benin, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, and The Gambia, for the same purposes listed above.

    Benin is a primary source country for boys and girls trafficked for forced labor in Nigeria’s granite quarries. Nigerian women and girls are trafficked through Libya, Morocco, and Algeria to Europe, primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, for forced prostitution and forced labor. While Italy is the primary European destination country for Nigerian victims, other common destinations are Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, France, and Greece. Children from Nigeria and other African countries are trafficked from Lagos to the UK’s urban centers for domestic servitude and forced labor in restaurants and shops.


I could continue to document another few dozen countries, but it is not necessary; It is very simple and easy to know whether there is slavery in a particular country: if a country is Muslim majority, then there is slavery in that country.

I have had Muslim readers leaving comments that forced servitude is not slavery. And even if they are slaves, they are treated well.

Just wait for the comments to appear below, excusing slavery in Islam by saying that slavery is an age-old institution, that Islam forced masters to treat their slaves well, that there is no slavery in Islam today.









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