Uzbekistan Upgraded in 2021 State Department Trafficking Against Persons Report

July 2, 2021 — The United States welcomes the upgrade of Uzbekistan’s ranking in the annual Trafficking Against Persons (TIP) Report from Tier Two Watch List to Tier Two.  This year’s TIP Report recognizes the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts toward preventing forced labor in the cotton harvest, identifying violations of laws against forced labor, and holding violators accountable.  Labor inspection, law enforcement, and TIP-focused civil society were strengthened in 2020 and citizens are increasingly aware of their rights to resist coercion and report violations.  These important improvements formed the basis of the Department of State’s decision to upgrade Uzbekistan’s tier ranking.

The United States urges Uzbekistan to continue its important progress on these issues by ensuring that criminal prosecutions for violations of labor laws align with Uzbekistan’s international commitments including by criminalizing all instances of forced labor.  We further encourage the Government of Uzbekistan to increase transparency in contracting between cotton clusters and farmers to prevent exploitation, and support strengthening efforts to protect the formation of independent labor unions and collective bargaining organizations.  The United States remains a committed partner for the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts to eliminate forced labor and combat Trafficking in Persons.

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