2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Uzbekistan

Bureau Of International Labor Affairs
Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

No Advancement – Efforts Made But Complicit in Forced Child Labor

In 2016, Uzbekistan made efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, but was also complicit in the use of forced child labor. The Government expanded the monitoring activities of both the ILO-led Third Party Monitoring and its own Coordination Council-led monitoring. The Government also took steps to improve the Feedback Mechanism for reporting labor violations in the cotton harvest and investigated complaints of forced child and adult labor received through this mechanism. However, Uzbekistan is receiving an assessment of no advancement because there were reports that some local officials mobilized children to pick cotton in the region of Khorezm and the Republic of Karakalpakstan. There was no evidence of centrally-coordinated forced mobilization of children. However, the Government maintained policies in the cotton sector that mandate regional harvest quotas and set crop prices at levels that create incentives for local administrators to forcibly mobilize labor, creating an ongoing risk of forced child labor. Public confidence in the Feedback Mechanism remained low, and some users reported retaliation for complaints, indicating flaws in the system for receiving and processing forced child labor complaints. Members of civil society who attempted to conduct independent monitoring of child labor in the cotton harvest reported experiencing harassment by the local government authorities. A Presidential Decree was issued in October 2016 prohibiting unannounced inspections in private businesses, including labor inspections. In addition to continued reports of the worst forms of child labor, including forced child labor in the cotton harvest, a limited number of reports indicate that children perform dangerous tasks in cultivating silk cocoons. Overall, gaps in law enforcement and insufficient coordination with provincial officials impede Uzbekistan’s ability to fully address the child labor problem.