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What is the UN doing to address the problem of slavery in Sudan?

The UN is doing very little. It is unable to do much for two reasons: It lacks the will and it is incapable of acting in Sudan without the permission of the very government that is responsible for the revival of slavery. The revival of Sudanese slavery was documented and well known in governmental and NGO circles since the mid-1980s. But the UN was silent for political reasons. When publicity generated by CSI forced UNICEF to acknowledge for the first time in 1999 that children and their mothers were indeed being enslaved, the Sudanese government threatened to close down all UNICEF and other UN operations in the country. Following negotiations with the Sudanese government, UNICEF agreed not to speak of “slaves” and “slavery” in Sudan. Instead it started to use the misleading euphemisms “abductees” and “abductions.” UNICEF also agreed to provide financial support for the Government of Sudan’s new Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC). Although this committee was established mainly as a showcase to deflect criticism from Western countries, it has succeeded in returning several thousand slaves to Southern Sudan. However, during the past several years, the government has wound down its funding and CEAWC has become largely dysfunctional.