In which Muslim-majority countries does slavery remain a problem? Here's an alphabetical listing of this phenomenon, with additions as appropriate:
- Afghanistan: Mostly concerns boys.
- Mali: Arabs and Touareg own blacks.
- Mauritania: Slavery remains a major institution. Nov. 11, 2013 update: For current developments and some pictures, see "Mauritania Confronts Long Legacy of Slavery."
- Pakistan: Mostly a rural phenomenon.
- Saudi Arabia: Despite a 1962 law banning the practice, it remains in place. A leading theologian even states that to reject Shar'i slavery is not to be a Muslim.
- Sudan: Chattel slavery returned in force with civil war in the 1990s.
- Yemen: As in Saudi Arabia – a 1962 legal abolishment has not been fully effective.
Also of note:
- The devshirme-like institution found in such widely separated countries as Pakistan and Senegal.
- The informal but widespread conditions of enforced servitude that foreign laborers, especially domestic workers, suffer from. For an example of the workers' forced labor in Qatar, see Richard Morin, "Indentured Servitude in the Persian Gulf," The New York Times, April 14, 2013.
- Forced labor in Uzbekistan hardly resembles the sorts of slavery practices in the more traditional Muslim-majority countries, but still it counts, as Mansur Mirovalev and Andrew E. Kramer show today at "In Uzbekistan, the Practice of Forced Labor Lives On During the Cotton Harvest." Each mid-September to mid-November, when the cotton harvest comes in, they report, "the government drafts about a million people, primarily public-sector employees and professionals, to work as cotton pickers, helping bring in the harvest for the world's fifth-largest cotton exporting nation." Not only is this pretend volunteering actually forced labor but, says Steve Swerdlow of Human Rights Watch, the workers "pick cotton in abusive conditions, exposed to pesticides, without potable water, with inadequate shelter, for which they receive little or no pay." To make matters yet worse, "Pickers are paid about 3 cents a pound, a pittance even [in Uzbekistan]. Sometimes, the cost of a bus ticket and food exceeds this payment, meaning laborers work for nothing or even end up owing the state." (December 17, 2013)
- The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that has just conquered large parts of Syria and Iraq is boisterously unabashed about its revival of slavery. I review its justification for this barbaric practice in "ISIS Justifies Its Yazidi Slaves." (October 16, 2014)