Forced Labour in the Cotton Sector of Turkmenistan, Monitoring the Cotton Harvest 2013

Publication Date: 

November 1, 2013


Alternative Turkmenistan News

The practice of forced labor in the cotton sector began in the Soviet period and has continued without interruption to this day. It is used on a massive scale, despite the fact that cotton is no longer the chief export commodity for Turkmenistan. Every season, tens of thousands of Turkmens from cities and the countryside are forced to work in the cotton fields. Mandatory standards are set for the amount of cotton harvested, and those who refuse to go to the fields or are unable to meet the quota are either fired from work or are punished in other ways.

By forcing citizens to harvest cotton, Turkmenistan is violating the ILO Convention №105 on the abolition of forced labor and the Convention №29 on forced and compulsory labor. Furthermore, the government of Turkmenistan is violating its own Labor code, section 8 of which defines forced labor as "any labor one is forced to do against his will under the threat of some form of punishment, to which one did not agree to voluntarily".