Ex-Slave Sues Gov't of Niger

Says she was bargained for 'like a goat'
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2008 9:51 AM CDT
Tuareg clansmen are silhouetted as they herd cattle near the Mali-Niger border. Niger is one of the world's poorest countries and slavery is widespread.    (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
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(Newser) – A young woman was bargained over "like a goat" and sold for $500 at the age of 12, she revealed yesterday in emotional testimony at a landmark slavery trial in an international court in West Africa. The 24-year-old former slave is suing the government of Niger for failing to enforce its own anti-slavery laws and not protecting her from forced work and sexual abuse, the Times of London reports.

If successful, her case could pave the way for similar claims from thousands of former and current slaves in Africa. “I want people to know what is happening,” the woman told the court. “I want the suffering of so many women to stop. This situation must end." An estimated 43,000 people are currently enslaved in Niger.