Overheard on CNN.com: Story on slavery in Mauritania inspires readers to seek action
In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery.
March 19th, 2012
01:24 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Story on slavery in Mauritania inspires readers to seek action

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

CNN's John D. Sutter and Edythe McNamee traveled to Mauritania to help tell the heartbreaking story of slavery that persists to this day. Their project, Slavery's last stronghold, illustrates both the horrors experienced by enslaved people and the reasons it continues even after being officially abolished by the country.

The CNN Freedom Project: Ending modern-day slavery

In a separate blog post, readers commented about the story. It was clear from the conversation that many were strongly affected.

Karen: "I must say this is piece was presented extremely well. Kudos to the design team, reporters, photographers, editors and CNN, but most importantly to those who boldly spoke out and have assisted those in need. The presentation left only one question: What can we do to help?"

Sutter compiled a post with suggestions of where to send donations and how to get involved. CNN iReport is also collecting messages of hope for a school of escaped slaves in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.

Some readers said they hoped to work toward bettering the lives of others.

Paula Blose: "Slavery is a blight on human behavior. They are people, not animals! I get angry that anyone could treat others in the way that has been reported here. This article is well-written, well-researched, and makes the reader feel the pain of these people. Shine the light on the indifference and apathy of that government. Big changes are made by few people, history shows us that. Well done. May change follow. I am in school for Human Services and hope to work with World Vision Africa one day. Food, shelter, clean water, and decent treatment for all individuals; whether the poorest of the poor or those who have plenty, may it be so."

Many readers indicated that awareness is a first step.

Abdou: "This article is just one side of the reality. I am from Mauritania and I witnessed the condition in which the slaves live. There are no words that can express this sad reality in the 21st century. I am positive that the law voted to eradicate slavery will not be effective because of the lack of pressure from the international community."

John from Mass.: "Abdou, I do agree but, tonight CNN put your country and its plight out there in the national news, and hopefully, its a start. Before CNN's broadcast, I never even heard of your country. Now, millions have!"

Some of the comments came from people who had traveled to Mauritania and witnessed the situation firsthand.

alessandro biglioli: "I was In Mauritania in the '90s. I distinctly remember meeting a white Moor on a horse followed by a black man on an ass in the middle of the desert. We asked him for directions and to our surprise and disgust the black man hurried down from his donkey, went on his fours and the Moor descended from the horse using the black man back as a stool. I remember being speechless. The Moor was polite and helpful and when the conversation ended the scene repeated, the black man went again on his fours and the moor used him as a stool again to go back on his horse. I will never forget the scene as long as I live. We were all left breathless ... slavery was already illegal, so we tried to report the situation at the next government post. They told us it was probably a joke they played on us and they laughed ..."

This commenter vowed to share the story with students.

eviewg: "First, amazing article. Second, as a teacher, I have always held the belief that education not only opens up opportunities to people, but also opens their mind. I'm reading this article to my class ... and I'm a science/math teacher, to show my students how lucky they are to be in born and living in this country (America)."

There were many other comments from readers who were shocked by what they were reading. What do you think? Let us know your take in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Sound off on video via CNN iReport, or share a message of hope.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Africa • Overheard on CNN.com • World
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Poetry

    Tremendous issues here. I'm very happy to peer your article. Thanks so much and I'm taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

    April 6, 2012 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Fake Name

    Why don't we invade one of these countries????? I bet you get at-least 2000 qualified volunteers. Kind of a Greenpeace that armed lol

    April 12, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
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