Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports: Uzbekistan
2019 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: English Russian
In 2019, Uzbekistan made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government took active measures to prevent the use of child labor in the cotton harvest, including by introducing criminal penalties for repeat violations of hazardous work prohibitions, doubling the number of labor inspectors, and conducting extensive awareness-raising on child labor laws and penalties for violations. The government also established a new National Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor and adopted a new roadmap to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor. However, children in Uzbekistan engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. Although the government made meaningful efforts in all relevant areas, laws prohibiting the commercial sexual exploitation of children do not meet international standards. Uzbekistan also has not carried out a national child labor survey to determine the prevalence of child labor in sectors other than cotton production.
I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor
Children in Uzbekistan engage in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation. (12-3) Uzbekistan has not carried out a national child labor survey to determine the prevalence of child labor in sectors other than cotton production. (3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Uzbekistan.
|Working (% and population)||5 to 14||4.3 (244,095)|
|Attending School (%)||5 to 14||84.1|
|Combining Work and School (%)||7 to 14||5.0|
|Primary Completion Rate (%)||103.0|
Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2018, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2020. (4)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3 (MICS 3), 2006. (5)
Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children’s work by sector and activity.
|Agriculture||Cultivating silk cocoons; preparing land for crop planting (6,7)|
|Services||Street work, including vending, car washing, and begging (89-10)|
|Collecting scrap metal (6,8)|
|Public works, including refurbishing school grounds and facilities (3,6,11)|
|Vending in markets (7)|
|Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡||Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1,3,8)|
|Forced labor in cultivating silk cocoons (1,6,12,13)|
|Forced labor in construction, non-cotton agriculture, and cleaning parks, streets, and buildings (1,6)|
‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.
Traffickers exploit Uzbek children in sex trafficking transnationally, and also internally in brothels, clubs, and private residences. Children in institutions are also vulnerable to sex trafficking. (1,14)
Although a quota system governed cotton production in some areas of Uzbekistan in 2019, the Government of Uzbekistan announced in February 2020 that it had abolished quotas for cotton production, effective as of the 2020 harvest. (15) Under the quota system, regional and local officials were held responsible for mobilizing sufficient labor to meet production targets assigned to farmers. (16,17) Harvest monitoring reports found that the ban on child labor in the 2019 cotton harvest was generally upheld. ILO harvest monitoring found children present on 43 out of 290 fields visited. (18,19) In 18 cases, children were identified in the field, but were not involved in any work-related activities, while in 25 cases monitors observed or suspected that the children present were helping with cotton harvesting. Observers noted that some pickers who could not access childcare brought their young children to the fields while the parents picked. (18) Families also sometimes brought older children to assist in the harvest to earn extra income for the family. In both types of cases, ILO observers held explanatory conversations with parents and asked them to remove children from the fields. (18) During the 2019 harvest, the government identified four instances of children present in the fields for limited periods of time. (3,11)
Children in Uzbekistan sometimes participate in public works projects, including refurbishing school grounds and facilities. (3,6) Limited evidence suggests that in isolated cases, school officials may compel students to assist in harvesting silk cocoons, sometimes characterizing the work as traditional communal labor (khashar). (6,12,13) Although there is free public education in Uzbekistan, schools may charge informal fees, which can render education inaccessible to children from low-income families. (3)
II. Legal Framework for Child Labor
Uzbekistan has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).
|ILO C. 138, Minimum Age||✓|
|ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor||✓|
|UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict||✓|
|UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography||✓|
|Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons||✓|
In 2019, the government ratified ILO C. 81, Labor Inspection; ILO C. 129, Labor Inspection (Agriculture); and ILO P029, Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labor Convention. (11)
The government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Uzbekistan’s legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including the prohibition of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
|Standard||Meets International Standards||Age||Legislation|
|Minimum Age for Work||Yes||16||Article 77 of the Labour Code; Article 20 of the Law on the Guarantees of the Rights of the Child; Article 49-1 of the Administrative Code (20-23)|
|Minimum Age for Hazardous Work||Yes||18||Articles 241 and 245 of the Labour Code (22)|
|Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children||Yes||Decree on Adoption of the List of Occupations with Unfavorable Working Conditions to Which It Is Forbidden to Employ Persons Under Eighteen Years of Age; Decree on Approval of Provision on Requirements on Prohibition of Use of Minors’ Labor (24,25)|
|Prohibition of Forced Labor||Yes||Article 37 of the Constitution; Article 7 of the Labour Code; Article 51 of the Administrative Code; Articles 135 and 148(2) of the Criminal Code (22 23,26,27)|
|Prohibition of Child Trafficking||Yes||Article 14 of the Law on Guarantees of the Rights of the Child; Article 135 of the Criminal Code (21,27)|
|Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children||No||Articles 130–131 and 135 of the Criminal Code (27)|
|Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities||Yes||Article 10 of the Law on Guarantees of the Rights of the Child; Articles 127, 270, 273, and 276 of the Criminal Code (21,27)|
|Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment||Yes||18||Article 24 of the Law on Universal Military Service (28)|
|Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military||Yes||Articles 4 and 46 of the Law on Universal Military Service (28)|
|Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups||No|
|Compulsory Education Age||Yes||18‡||Article 3 of the Law on Education (29)|
|Free Public Education||Yes||Article 4 of the Law on Education; Article 41 of the Constitution (26,29)|
‡ Age calculated based on available information (29)
Articles 131 and 135 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan criminalize pimping, procuring, involving, or inducing children into prostitution, and criminalize the actions of those who profit from prostitution involving children. (27) However, no law criminalizes the users (clients) of prostitution involving children.(27) In addition, although Uzbekistan has policies at the national level prohibiting all Uzbek citizens, including children, from joining non-state armed groups, the recruitment of children by such groups is not explicitly punishable by law. (11)
Because the minimum age for work is lower than the compulsory education age, children may be encouraged to leave school before the completion of compulsory education. (202122-23,29)
In 2019, the upper and lower chambers of Uzbekistan’s parliament adopted amendments to the Administrative Code that increased penalties for violation of child labor laws, and amendments to the Criminal Code that established criminal penalties for repeat violations of laws prohibiting hazardous child labor. (27,30) Parliament also adopted additional amendments to the Criminal Code that introduced criminal penalties for forced labor violations, including official complicity in forced labor. These amendments were approved by the president in January 2020 and entered into force three months later. (3,11,18,27,3031-32) However, although Article 148(2) of the Criminal Code now establishes criminal penalties for forced labor violations, these only apply to repeat offenders; administrative fines are applied in the first instance. (27) The government also drafted a new law on combating trafficking in persons. (33)
III. Enforcement of Laws on Child Labor
The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the operations of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations (MOELR) that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.
|Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations (MOELR)||Conducts labor inspections, including inspections for compliance with child labor laws. (3,8) Leads the National Sub-Commission on Combating Forced Labor. (34,35)|
|Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA)||Investigates crimes related to child trafficking, which may then be prosecuted by the Prosecutor General’s Office. (3,8) Leads the National Sub-Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons. (34,35)|
|Prosecutor General’s Office||Prosecutes criminal violations involving the worst forms of child labor, including human trafficking, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation. (8)|
|Youth Union||Monitors school attendance to ensure that students do not miss class during the cotton harvest. (9) Participates in mobile monitoring groups to monitor violations of labor laws during the annual cotton harvest. (36)|
|Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan||Participates in mobile monitoring units to monitor violations of labor laws during the annual cotton harvest. (36)|
|Human Trafficking Hotlines||Receive reports of incidents of human trafficking and refer reports to the relevant agencies. The MOIA-led National Sub-Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons administers one hotline, and an NGO maintains a second foreign donor-funded hotline. (1)|
|Feedback Mechanisms||Receive complaints on the violation of workers’ rights and labor laws. MOELR can receive complaints through a telephone hotline with a short, easy-to-remember number; a web portal; and a Telegram messenger bot. (37) Reports indicate that only the Telegram bot is anonymous. Hotline callers are required to provide personal information to register a complaint, which may limit public confidence in this mechanism. (19) Labor inspectors are required to investigate all complaints submitted to MOELR within 7 days. In 2019, ILO was given real-time access to this feedback mechanism during the cotton harvest season to monitor the efficacy of the government’s response. (14,37) The Federation of Trade Unions also continued to operate its own independent feedback mechanism, accessible online or over the phone, and a legal clinic that assists workers in remediating issues. (14,38)|
Labor Law Enforcement
In 2019, labor law enforcement agencies in Uzbekistan took actions to combat child labor. (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the operations of the MOELR that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including human resource allocation.
|Overview of Labor Law Enforcement||2018||2019|
|Labor Inspectorate Funding||Unknown||$300,000 (11)|
|Number of Labor Inspectors||200 (8)||400 (3)|
|Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Initial Training for New Labor Inspectors||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Refresher Courses Provided||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Number of Labor Inspections Conducted||4,517 (39)||5,392 (11)|
|Number Conducted at Worksite||4,517 (39)||5,392 (11)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations Found||35 (39)||21 (11)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed||20 (39)||21 (11)|
|Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected||20 (39)||21 (11)|
|Routine Inspections Conducted||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Routine Inspections Targeted||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Unannounced Inspections Permitted||Yes (4041-42)||Yes (3)|
|Unannounced Inspections Conducted||Unknown||Yes (36)|
|Complaint Mechanism Exists||Yes (8)||Yes (3,43)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
In 2019, the number of labor inspectors at the MOELR doubled, from 200 to 400. (3,43) Despite this, the number of labor inspectors is likely insufficient for the size of Uzbekistan’s workforce, which includes more than 17.8 million workers. According to the ILO’s technical advice of a ratio approaching 1 inspector for every 20,000 workers in transitioning economies, Uzbekistan would employ about 890 inspectors. (44-46) During the reporting period, the government instituted standards under which new labor inspectors receive a 2-week mandatory introductory training course on Uzbek labor law, and all inspectors must take additional training on labor laws and undergo a re-certification process every 3 years. (11,43,47) In addition, in August 2019, labor inspectors received specialized training on detecting forced labor and addressing forced labor cases ahead of the annual autumn cotton harvest. (3,36)
During the reporting period, the government enhanced penalties for violations of labor laws. Fines for forced labor violations increased tenfold, with additional increases in fines for forced labor violations involving minors. (30,36) Labor inspectors identified 21 child labor violations, all of which involved children working in refurbishment of school grounds and facilities. The government imposed fines for all 21 of these cases, collectively totaling approximately $5,160 (49,300,000 UZS). (11)
The government authorized unscheduled inspections of public-sector enterprises in all sectors. While inspectors also have some authority to conduct unscheduled short-term inspections of private-sector worksites, reports suggest inspectors only do so in response to complaints or requests from the tax service. (3,11,48) Research was unable to determine how many of the inspections MOELR staff conducted during the reporting period were unannounced, or whether unannounced, self-initiated inspections occurred in all sectors. The government made active efforts to both respond to complaints and proactively monitor organizations and populations that have historically been at high risk for forced labor in the cotton harvest. MOELR increased routine inspections of public-sector organizations, at which workers were historically forced to participate in the cotton harvest. (14,43) The government reported that during the cotton harvest season, MOELR responded to approximately 1,200 complaints and conducted oversight of 3,000 organizations and farms involved in the harvest. (49) Due to these efforts, 259 government officials, heads of organizations, and managers were punished for forced labor violations during the 2019 cotton harvest, including 3 regional and municipal hokims (mayors) and 15 deputy hokims (deputy mayors). (18,50,51) The government also penalized 56 individuals for failure to provide cotton pickers with adequate working conditions. (11) The government and the Federation of Trade Unions established four mobile monitoring groups to monitor the cotton harvest. These groups, managed by the Federation of Trade Unions, conducted a minimum of three unannounced site visits per day based on random GPS coordinates. (3,36) Each mobile monitoring group consisted of a trade union representative, an employers’ organization representative, and a Women’s Committee and Youth Organization representative. The individuals representing these entities within each mobile monitoring group rotated on a regular basis. (36)
In the 2019 cotton harvest, MOELR piloted a new initiative in the Syrdarya region to create temporary camps to house cotton pickers. The pilot facilities had a capacity of 400 pickers and provided heated living quarters, meals, access to showers and toilets, and medical care. (14,17,36) Independent harvest monitors and a majority of cotton pickers reported improvements in working conditions in the 2019 harvest compared to 2018. (18)
During the reporting period, MOELR, in coordination with the National Sub-Commission on Combating Forced Labor, established an outreach plan to raise awareness specifically about its feedback mechanism. In addition, it distributed tens of thousands of brochures devoted to educating the public on prohibitions against forced labor and resources for victims. (43) MOELR also tracked its efforts to respond to complaints, and reported taking action in response to over 90 percent of complaints submitted between January and September 2019. (43)
Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2019, criminal law enforcement agencies in Uzbekistan took actions to combat child labor (Table 7). However, only limited information on the activities of criminal law enforcement authorities was available.
|Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement||2018||2019|
|Initial Training for New Criminal Investigators||Unknown||Yes (3)|
|Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor||N/A||Yes (3)|
|Refresher Courses Provided||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
|Number of Investigations||Unknown||2 (2,11)|
|Number of Violations Found||14 (8)||33 (3)|
|Number of Prosecutions Initiated||Unknown||2† (2)|
|Number of Convictions||Unknown||1† (2)|
|Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to The Worst Forms of Child Labor||Unknown||Yes (2)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services||Yes (8)||Yes (3)|
† Data are from January – August 2019.
In 2019, the government reported that 33 children received services as victims of human trafficking, but research was unable to determine further details about the cases involving these victims. (3) Law enforcement investigated two cases of commercial sexual exploitation, each involving one victim. Both of these cases were referred for prosecution. (2,11,51) One of these cases resulted in a conviction of 3 years of imprisonment. (52)
During the reporting period, judges received training from OSCE on handling human trafficking and forced labor cases. In addition, law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, and judges received training from civil society organizations on best practices for addressing forced labor and human trafficking cases and identifying and assisting victims. (38) Criminal investigators participated in training courses on trafficking in persons designed by senior Ministry of Internal Affairs staff and anti-trafficking NGO Istiqbolli Avlod. (11)
IV. Coordination of Government Efforts on Child Labor
The government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8). However, gaps exist that hinder the effective coordination of efforts to address child labor, including coordination with civil society organizations.
|Coordinating Body||Role & Description|
|National Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor (National Commission)*||Coordinates state and local entities’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor; analyzes and monitors efficacy of government programs to address trafficking in persons and forced labor; organizes international cooperation on combating human trafficking and forced labor; and provides legal and policy recommendations for improvement of government efforts in these areas. (34,35) Chaired by the National Rapporteur on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor. (34) Comprises the two sub-commissions on combating human trafficking and on forced labor, respectively. The Minister of Internal Affairs heads the Sub-Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and the Minister of Labor heads the Sub-Commission on Combating Forced Labor. (3,34,35) In 2019, the National Commission drafted and adopted a roadmap to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor, and roadmaps for the cotton harvest, a national plan for work with international organizations, and a media plan. (14,53,54)|
|National Rapporteur on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor (National Rapporteur)*||Chairs the National Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor. Reports annually to the President on trafficking in persons and forced labor issues, government efforts to punish perpetrators, and services for victims of human trafficking and forced labor crimes. (34,35) Conducts public awareness-raising activities related to human trafficking and forced labor. (35) In 2019, the National Rapporteur convened the National Commission monthly. (38)|
|Local Commissions for Combating Human Trafficking and Forced Labor (Local Commissions)*||Ensure timely and rigorous implementation of all laws and regulations, including those issued by the National Commission, related to trafficking in persons and forced labor. (30) Local Commissions mirror the structure of the National Commission, with sub-commissions on trafficking in persons and on forced labor, respectively. Local Commissions are chaired by the regional hokim (governor) and provide monthly reports to the National Commission. (14,30) Sources indicated that in 2019, in at least one region, the Local Commission met regularly every 2 weeks. (14)|
* Mechanism to coordinate efforts to address child labor was created during the reporting period.
In 2019, the government overhauled its system for coordinating efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labor. A July 30, 2019 presidential decree established the new National Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor and the new office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor. (34) In November, the National Commission promulgated an ambitious national roadmap to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor that incorporated suggestions from the international community and civil society activists. (3,53,55)
During the reporting period, MOELR met with human rights activists in Tashkent, and a government delegation met in Washington with civil society stakeholders from the Cotton Campaign. (43,55) Government officials and civil society stakeholders from the Cotton Campaign also met in early 2020 in Tashkent to discuss labor conditions in the 2019 cotton harvest. (56)
There were no reports of reprisals against individuals for monitoring labor conditions during the 2019 harvest. (18) However, at the end of the reporting period and during the first weeks of 2020, the labor and human rights NGO “Chiroq” in Karakalpakstan was denied official registration, allegedly for three grammatical errors in its registration application, and its founding members were reportedly harassed and intimidated by regional security forces. (57)
V. Government Policies on Child Labor
The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including implementation of cotton clusters.
|Memorandum of Understanding Between the ILO and the Republic of Uzbekistan (2014–2020)||Establishes terms of agreement between ILO and the government on cooperation to implement the Decent Work Country Program in Uzbekistan. (58) In 2019, the Government of Uzbekistan and ILO continued to work together under this agreement. (36)|
|Senate Resolution on Measures to Ensure Guaranteed Labor Rights to the Citizens of Uzbekistan||Establishes a plan to harmonize national legislation with the requirements of ILO conventions, including through developing relevant organizational structures and national programs, strengthening state and civil society capacity to guarantee the provision of labor rights, and carrying out an information campaign to inform citizens of their rights. (59) In 2019, the government further increased the minimum wage for cotton pickers over 2018 levels to attract voluntary participation in the annual cotton harvest. (3,30,36)|
|Plan of Immediate Measures in the Area of Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor (“Roadmap”) (2019–2020)†||Establishes a plan for updating legislation on trafficking in persons and forced labor, building government capacity to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor, enhancing transparency of conditions in the annual cotton harvest, raising awareness on human trafficking and forced labor issues, and reforming the agriculture and textile industries. (53)|
|Strategy for the Development of Agriculture in the Republic of Uzbekistan (2020–2030)†||Calls for a reduction of the state’s involvement in agriculture and enhances farmers’ autonomy over what crops to grow. (30) Includes a specific action item to end state intervention in agriculture, including cotton production, by 2023. (60)|
† Policy was approved during the reporting period.
In 2019, the government continued to implement policies aimed at attracting a greater number of voluntary workers to assist with the cotton harvest. These included raising wages for cotton pickers, raising the price offered to farmers for cotton, and continuing to transition to a system of private business partnerships called “clusters” along the cotton value chain (from farm to finished products). (3,18,30,43) Under the cluster model, land concessions are provided by the government to cotton sector enterprises. In some cases, these clusters farm cotton directly, and in others, they enter into contracts with local cotton farmers. (14,43,62) Reports indicate that in some regions or districts, only one cluster has been given a land concession, essentially providing that cluster with a monopoly on entering into cotton production contracts with farmers. Some clusters may also have close ties to local administrators. (19,62-64) In such cases, there is limited evidence that farmers may be pressured into entering contracts that have poor terms, such as a low purchase price for cotton or a high price for inputs like seeds and fertilizer. There have also been allegations of clusters that never pay farmers for delivered crops. (63,64) Observers have noted that these practices can mimic the pressures on farmers and officials that historically created high risks for forced labor under the quota system. (19) Some clusters are investing in mechanical harvesting equipment and methods, which reduce the need for manual labor during the harvest. (43) However, in cases in which clusters still need to hire seasonal labor, they can work with MOELR-run Population Employment Facilitation Centers to advertise vacancies and recruit workers. (37) Limited reports suggest that during the 2019 harvest, local officials may have forcibly mobilized pickers to work on cluster-run or cluster-affiliated farms. (65)
During the reporting period, the government adopted a new strategy for agricultural development that includes an action item to end the state’s practical involvement in crop production by 2023. Officials clarified that this would include an end to cotton production quotas. (14,60) In early March 2020, President Mirziyoyev signed a decree formally ending the practice of imposing state production plans in the cotton sector. Under these plans in previous harvests, local and regional officials were held responsible for meeting production targets, which observers reported was a root cause of forced labor and increased the risk of child labor. (18,66-68)
VI. Social Programs to Address Child Labor
In 2019, the government funded and participated in programs that included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including the adequacy of programs to address the full scope of the problem.
|Efforts to Prevent Child and Forced Labor in the Cotton Harvest†||Include initiatives to raise awareness about the prohibition of child and forced labor in the cotton harvest. (43,59) In the first 9 months of 2019, as part of these efforts, the State Labor Inspectorate under MOELR conducted 7,181 awareness-raising events with workers and employers about the elimination of forced labor, ILO conventions, and penalties for violating labor laws. In total, 136,596 participants attended these events. (43)|
|National Rehabilitation Center†||MOELR-operated shelter that provides human trafficking victims with emergency medical and social services and assists in social rehabilitation. (3,8,59) In 2019, this center provided services to 220 victims. (51)|
|MOELR Fund for Community Works†||Offers the unemployed opportunities for paid public works, including seasonal agricultural work. Matches job seekers with labor needs in the cotton harvest to reduce the risk of forced labor. (3,42,70) The government continued to operate this program in 2019 to attract workers to areas of Uzbekistan in which there were insufficient local populations to meet cotton harvest quotas. (3,8,39)|
|Support for the Implementation of the Decent Work Country Program in Uzbekistan (2014–2019)||$6 million USDOL-funded project awarded to ILO to enhance the capacity of the government and workers’ and employers’ representatives to prevent and reduce child and forced labor and promote decent work in Uzbekistan. (36,71,72) During the reporting period, the project trained fair recruitment working groups in pilot districts on collective bargaining for remuneration and working conditions. (36) Additional information is available on the USDOL website.|
† Program is funded by the Government of Uzbekistan.
In 2019, the government established 197 new regional centers across the country for rehabilitation of human trafficking victims, including child victims. (51)
Although there are programs to address child labor in the cotton sector, research did not find evidence of programs designed to address child labor in other sectors, such as public works and street work.
VII. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor
Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Uzbekistan (Table 11).
|Area||Suggested Action||Year(s) Suggested|
|Legal Framework||Criminally prohibit and penalize the use of a child for prostitution.||2015 – 2019|
|Criminally prohibit the recruitment of children under age 18 by non-state armed groups.||2016 – 2019|
|Raise the minimum age for work to the age up to which education is compulsory.||2018 – 2019|
|Enforcement||Establish criminal penalties for forced labor violations in the first instance.||2019|
|Continue to increase the number of labor inspectors to meet the ILO’s technical advice.||2015 – 2019|
|Ensure that complaints of labor abuse in the cotton harvest can be registered anonymously over the phone.||2019|
|Ensure that labor inspectors conduct self-initiated unannounced inspections in all sectors, even if no complaint has been filed.||2018 – 2019|
|Publish data on criminal law enforcement efforts related to all forms of child labor, including child victims of human trafficking.||2011 – 2019|
|Coordination||Ensure that local NGOs monitoring child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights issues are able to register, and sanction officials who harass or intimidate labor rights activists.||2017 – 2019|
|Government Policies||Monitor implementation of the new cluster system to ensure farmers are not coerced to enter into contracts with certain clusters or produce cotton under terms that create high risk for exploitative labor.||2019|
|Social Programs||Collect and publish data on the extent and nature of child labor to inform policies and programs.||2013 – 2019|
|Ensure that schools do not charge informal fees to students or their families.||2019|
|Expand programs to address the worst forms of child labor in sectors other than cotton harvesting.||2009 – 2019|
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2019: Uzbekistan. Washington, DC, June 20, 2019.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Information on investigations by the Investigative Department and its territorial divisions into crimes related to sexual exploitation of minors for the period 2017–2018 and the first 8 months of 2019. 2019. Source on file.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. January 13, 2020.
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed March 2020. For more information, please see “Children’s Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.
- ILO. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, 2006. Analysis received March 2020. Please see “Children’s Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. There is no work we haven’t done: Forced labor of public sector employees in Uzbekistan. February 2019.
- International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations. Information on the compliance of the Republic of Uzbekistan from 2017 through 2019 with Convention No. 138 of the International Labour Organization “Minimum Age Convention” 1973 (adopted in Geneva on 26 June 1973 at the 58th session of the ILC-ILO) and Convention No. 182 of the International Labour Organization “Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention” 1999 (adopted in Geneva on 17 June 1999 at the 87th session of the ILC-ILO). August 30, 2018. Source on file.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. February 22, 2019.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. January 9, 2018.
- ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Uzbekistan (ratification: 2008) Published: 2015. Accessed January 5, 2016.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Written communication: Information for use in preparation of the Report on the worst forms of child labor for 2019 (TDA Report) and List of goods produced with child or forced labor (TVPRA Report). (a) April 1, 2020. Source on file.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. Silk Loop for Uzbek Farmers. September 12, 2015.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 18, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. February 14, 2020.
- Kun.uz. Minister: “Hokims will no longer be involved in cotton.” February 5, 2020.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Sector: Preliminary Findings from the 2016 Harvest. December 2016.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. November 27, 2019.
- ILO. Third-party monitoring of child labour during the 2019 cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. February 5, 2020.
- Uzbek Forum for Human Rights. Tashkent’s reforms have not yet reached us: Unfinished work in the fight against forced labor in Uzbekistan’s 2019 cotton harvest. June 23, 2020.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Law No. ZRU-239 to amend the Labour Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Law on Child’s Rights Guarantees, UZB-2009-L-85547. Enacted: 2009.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Law No. ZRU-139 On the Guarantees of the Rights of the Child, UZB-2008-L-85548. Enacted: 2008.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Law No. ZRU-365 Labor Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Enacted: 1996.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Law No. 2015-XII Administrative Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Enacted: 1994. Source on file.
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- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Decree on Adoption of the List of Occupations with Unfavorable Working Conditions to which it is forbidden to Employ Persons under Eighteen Years of Age. Enacted: 2009. Source on file.
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- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Law on Education. Enacted: 1997.
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- Government of Uzbekistan. Law No. 603 on the introduction of changes and additions to several legal acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Enacted: January 22, 2020.
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- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Presidential Decree on additional measures to further the establishment of systems combating trafficking in persons and forced labor. Enacted: July 30, 2019.
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- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting, February 14, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. July 18, 2019.
- ILO-Geneva official. E-mail Communication to USDOL official. 2018.
- ILO-Tashkent official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. 2018.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Resolution on Measures for Improving the Structure of Labour Governance Bodies and Strengthening the System for Protection of Labour Rights and Occupational Safety and Health. August 20, 2018. Source on file.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Human value of cotton: Progress log and a look into the future. 2019. Source on file.
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- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Cabinet of Ministers Decree no. 1066 on measures for the fulfilment of activities of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Enacted: December 31, 2018.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Experience of Uzbekistan in eradicating forced labor. December 10, 2019. Source on file.
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- Government of Uzbekistan. Written Communication: Information for use in preparation of the Report on the worst forms of child labor for 2019 (TDA Report) and List of goods produced with child or forced labor (TVPRA Report).(b) April 1, 2020. Source on file.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Written communication: Information on Measures for Confronting and Eliminating Forced Labour and Trafficking in Persons in Uzbekistan. April 28, 2020. Source on file.
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- Government of Uzbekistan. Plan of immediate measures in the area of combating trafficking in persons and forced labor for 2019–2020. Adopted: November 25, 2019. Source on file.
- Government of Uzbekistan officials. Interview with USDOL officials. November 25, 2019.
- Cotton Campaign. Uzbekistan: Efforts underway to end forced labor. News release. November 1, 2019.
- Cotton Campaign. Cotton Campaign Delegation’s 2020 Fact-finding Visit to Uzbekistan. February 21, 2020.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. Tricks, threats and deception: Registering an NGO in Uzbekistan. March 6, 2020.
- ILO and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Memorandum of Understanding. 2014.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Response to TDA Questionnaire. January 25, 2017.
- Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan. On approval of the strategy for the development of agriculture in the Republic of Uzbekistan 2020–2030. Enacted: October 23, 2019.
- Government of Uzbekistan. Cooperation with the ILO and World Bank on Eliminating Forced and Child Labor. January 15, 2016. Source on file.
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent. Reporting. September 25, 2019.
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Uzbek farmers get ‘cluster’ bombed by reforms. December 16, 2019.
- Uzbek German Forum for Human Rights. Cotton clusters and the despair of Uzbek farmers: Land confiscations, blank contracts and failed payments. April 2020.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. 2019 Cotton harvest in Uzbekistan preliminary findings of Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. February 3, 2020.
- U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2018: Uzbekistan. March 13, 2019.
- Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. Why the practice of “forced voluntary” cotton harvesting in Uzbekistan continues. November 19, 2019.
- Review.uz. A historic document has been adopted: Uzbekistan renounces state orders for cotton. March 6, 2020.
- Global Partnership for Education. About GPE. 2020
- U.S. Embassy- Tashkent official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. July 3, 2018.
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Child Labor Forced Labor and Human Trafficking. Notice of Intent to Fund the Decent Work Country Program in Uzbekistan. 2014. Source on file.
- ILO. Support to the Implementation of the Decent Work Country Program in Uzbekistan: Technical Progress Report. October 2018. Source on file.