The Fight Against Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s 2019 Cotton Harvest

In just a few years, Uzbekistan has made significant, rapid progress toward the elimination of adult forced labor in the cotton harvest, following the elimination of child labor in 2014. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has made dismantling forced labor in the cotton sector the centerpiece of his effort to modernize and reform Uzbekistan, making  strong public commitments, enacting several key reforms, and increasing accountability measures. Over the last year, further significant developments have taken place in regard to forced labor in the cotton sector and the government’s reform process. But the 2019 harvest also showed that the work is not yet complete.

RIWI has partnered with Uzbek Forum and the Solidarity Center to conduct a nationwide online survey to assess participation and conditions in the harvest (hereinafter referred to as the “harvest survey”). In contrast to interviews, the survey was not intended or used to identify individual instances of forced labor, but rather to assess trends with a survey tool that could collect participant response numbers and geographic breadth outside the scope of Uzbek Forum’s monitoring capacity while still guaranteeing absolute anonymity of respondents. 

Read more about our findings in the full report here.