Documentary: fresh evidence of Uzbek forced labour

Anti-Slavery International released a new documentary evidencing abuses in this year’s harvest, coinciding with the debate over the European Union’s trade deal with Uzbekistan.

7 November 2016

The nine-minute documentary features interviews with cotton pickers and follows activists monitoring the harvest, disproving claims that citizens pick cotton voluntarily.

Workers taking part in the harvest talk about the awful conditions in the fields, with many people having to sleep on the floor of school gyms, sometimes with no running water, and having to work for hours in sweltering heat. The interviews also confirm that they go to the fields under a clear threat of being fired from their jobs.

The activists interviewed in the video explain the forced labour system and recount the abuses they suffer from the regime for having the courage to campaign against the system, including being locked up in a psychiatric ward, being made to pay large fines, and detention and beatings.

“The documentary will leave the viewer in no doubt over the impact of the cotton crimes on the Uzbek people.” said Klara Skrivankova, Anti-Slavery International’s UK and Europe Programme Manager.

“We hope the members of the European Parliament will watch it as well and vote to halt a trade deal which would result in the EU profiting from their misery.”

Please share the video widely.

The documentary is also available to view on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cZUWZT0pOmc.