For the tenth consecutive year, Uzbek Forum for Human Rights has independently monitored forced labor during the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. The harvest in 2020 is taking place amidst the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also important policy developments, such as the nearly complete transfer of the cotton production system to private cotton textile clusters and the abolition of state cotton quotas, as well as existing issues such as the continued lack of independent recruitment channels.

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On September 23, 2020, human rights defender Elena Urlaeva observed children picking cotton in Buvaida district of Fergana region. According to Urlaeva, some of the girls were 8 or 9 years old.

Tashkent region, Bekabad district, October 4, 2020. Elena Urlaeva

Karakalpakstan, Kungrad, October 12, 2020. Uzbek Forum