Forced labour in cotton industry in Uzbekistan

End Cotton Crimes

Every autumn over a million Uzbek and Turkmen citizens are forced by their own government to leave their regular jobs and go to the fields to pick cotton.

A large proportion of this cotton ends up in global supply chains and in our high street shops.

Join us to stop this harmful practice.

“You work like a slave from morning till night, not enough food, [we] sleep and wake up hungry again.” – student of Andijan Agricultural Institute, Uzbekistan, September 2016.

Every year the Governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, force hundreds of thousands of people out of their regular jobs and sends them to the cotton fields to toil for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Some have even died in fields from extreme heat and accidents.

Watch our short video explaining the practice:

End Cotton Crimes campaign

Under pressure from campaigners Uzbekistan promised reforms of its forced labour system. However, it is far from finished and we are monitoring the situation closely, particularly during the cotton harvest in the autumn.

In Turkmenistan there are no signs of progress and the situation in the last harvest even worsened, with our partners Alternative Turkmenistan News finding masses of children being sent out to the fields again during last year’s harvest. We need to step up the pressure on Turkmen government to stop it.

Economic pressure has proven crucial in pushing Uzbekistan for reforms. We need companies to extend their commitments to not knowingly source cotton from Turkmenistan by signing the Turkmenistan Cotton Pledge.

Please tweet at your favourite clothing brand to publicly encourage them to sign the pledge. Please click the ‘Tweet’ button below, add a brand’s handle and ask them to not source cotton from Turkmenistan and sign the Cotton Pledge.

Thank you, and don’t forget to sign up to the campaign to be kept up to date with our campaign!

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