Published on 5th September 2019 by

Slavery is still existing in Mauritania, although it has officially been prohibited by law. The government of Mauritania has been trying to hide slavery from the outside world for years. Slavery has officially been abolished since 1981, almost a century after it happened worldwide. But activists are still fighting for the liberation of tens of thousands of black Mauritanians owned by someone else. Slavery is still existing.

In this series, Dutch Journalist Bram Vermeulen travels through the biggest desert on earth: the Sahara. He goes from west to east, from the Atlantic to the red sea and crosses the four biggest countries. He experiences the heat of the desert, the dangers of advancing jihadism and meets the residents of one of the most inhospitable areas on earth.

Mauritania is located in the most western point of the Sahara. Since 1980 no Dutch camera crew has been visiting here. The desert country tries to hide a big secret from the outside world.
Ten years ago, Mauritania was still a busy crossing point for migrants from West Africa to the Canary Islands, but since the Spanish coast guard patrolled the coast together with colleagues from Mauritania, no one can get through it anymore.
Mauritania is a country that exists without the attention of the world press. A land of sand, where the first cities only emerged after the great drought in the 1960s.
Many customs from the desert have come to the city with urbanization. It is notorious for overfeeding young girls with camel milk and breadcrumbs dipped in olive oil. Force-feeding is called that forbidden use, intended to make the girls more attractive for the wedding market.

Presentator: Bram Vermeulen
Director & Camera: Erik van Empel
Sound: Oleksiy Tugushin
Edit: Daan Wierda
Research: Tjeerd Bijman
Research/Fixer: Issifou Djibo
Camera assistant: Aboulougafar Adamou
Production: Elleke Claessen
Production assistants: Yalou van der Heijden
Jeroen Mondria
Music: Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek)
Online Editors: Nick Boers, Marleen Cuijpers
Commissioning Editor: Hans Simonse

© VPRO November 2018

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