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A slave trader brought Mende to Sudan's capital city, Khartoum, and sold her to a wealthy Arab family. So began Mende's dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "yebit," or "black slave." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own. The only thing that kept her alive was the hope that she might see her family again.
Thousands of other child-slaves have suffered a similar fate. Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master - a diplomat in London. In a desperate attempt to flee, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.
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