Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slavery: Mauritania - The story of Moulkheir Mint Yarba

Source: IRIN

Moulkheir Mint Yarba escaped from slavery in 2010. She was born into slavery and never knew her parents. “I think my master killed them,” she told IRIN, though they may have been enslaved to other families. Yarba was repeatedly beaten and raped by her master, bearing seven children by him, one of which her owners killed, she says, to punish her. In 2007 just after the law was passed, Yarba was passed on to another family, who continued to beat her and her children, and raped her daughter. Her daughter fell pregnant by her master who then forcibly aborted the pregnancy.

Yarba’s brother learned of her whereabouts and informed SOS Esclaves, who drove to the location, and called on the local police to intervene. They did, freeing Yarba and all of her children though their owner tried to stop them.

Life is easier now for Yarba. She used to wake at 4am to start her chores and look after the animals, and she highly values her freedom. The Commission for Human Rights helps pay for her children’s education, the family’s medical expenses, basic food needs and rent, while SOS Esclaves has trained her to sew and dye clothes to raise a little income. But deep scars remain, and her daughter, who suffered severe beating and rape from a young age, remains visibly traumatized. “I want to put all of this history behind me,” said her daughter.

Yarba’s dream now is to see her children succeed. “My dream is for my children to grow up and do well so they can look after me,” she told IRIN.