Child Labor in Fall 2008 Uzbek Cotton Harvest

Publication Date: 

November 11, 2008


International Labor Rights Forum

This new report from the International Labor Rights Forum and a group of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan documents continued child labor in cotton fields in Uzbekistan in the Fall 2008 harvest season. Contrary to the government of Uzbekistan’s assertions that it has banned forced child labor, recent information suggests it continues to compel children as young as 11 and 12 to pick cotton, closing schools and using other coercive measures to enforce compliance. Although Uzbekistan has recently signed two ILO conventions against forced and child labor, and issued a new decree ostensibly prohibiting the practice, information from around the country shows that the government continues to rely on the state‐orchestrated mass mobilization of children to bring in the 2008 cotton harvest. Uzbekistan is the world’s third largest exporter of cotton, and cotton is that country’s largest source of export revenue.