January 26, 2013
Human Rights Watch
The Uzbekistani Government annually forces over one million of the nation’s men, women, and children into labor slavery for the duration of the cotton harvest. These victims of labor trafficking are required to work 12-hour days in abusive conditions under the threat of beatings, taxes, fines, and the loss of employment or social benefits. Children as young as nine are removed from schools, and are forced to endure very real risks to their health and safety. For four years, the Uzbekistani government has refused to allow the International Labor Organization (ILO) to monitor the harvest, and has intimidated and arrested activists and journalists that seek to document the reality of slavery in Uzbekistan. Throughout these human rights violations, the United States remains both a key Uzbek ally and an important market for Uzbek cotton. To read the full article, click here.