‘We Live Subject to their Orders’: A Three-Province Survey of Forced Child Labor in Uzbekistan’s 2008 Cotton Harvest

Publication Date: 

June 4, 2009


International Labor Rights Forum

This report highlights the continued use of forced child labor in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan in the fall 2008 harvest. While international pressure from retailers and consumers has had some effect in curbing forced child labor in the production of cotton in Uzbekistan, the practice is still pervasive.

Among other findings, the report states that:

- Since gaining independence in 1991, Uzbekistan’s authoritarian government has increased its reliance on forced child labor to harvest cotton.

- The Uzbek government closes schools during the cotton harvest and forces children as young as nine to perform dangerous work in the cotton fields.

- Schools were assigned quotas to fulfill, and principals of schools that did not meet the quotas were threatened with dismissal. The consequences for children and families who objected to taking part were severe: beatings were commonplace.

The report is based on surveys of children, parents and teachers in three provinces in Uzbekistan.