This story was written by the ILO Newsroom For official ILO statements and speeches, please visit our “Statements and Speeches” section.

Third Party Monitoring on Child and Forced Labour in Uzbekistan

The ILO has cooperated with the Government and social partners of Uzbekistan on child and forced labour since 2013. The parties agreed to an ILO monitoring on child labour in cotton harvest during September - October 2013. In addition, Uzbek constituents and the ILO initiated cooperation on the application of Convention No. 105. The following year, in 2014, monitoring of child labour was undertaken by national teams, while discussions with the ILO on forced labour issues continued. Both items were included in the Decent Work Country Programme signed in April 2014.

In October 2014, the World Bank and the ILO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding cooperation in Uzbekistan with respect to child and forced labour in cotton production. The MoU led to the initiation of the project “Third Party Monitoring on Child and Forced Labour in Uzbekistan” with financial support from the European Union and the Governments of Switzerland and USA.

The project aims at:
  • assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in achieving its goal to eradicate child and forced labour in the annual cotton harvest and
  • providing the World Bank Group with a reliable dataset and analysis to inform decisions on investment risks and opportunities in the country.

The project revolves around the Third-Party Monitoring (TPM) of World Bank funded projects, establishing a feedback mechanism where information and/or complaints on child and forced labour can be addressed, and undertaking capacity building and awareness raising on child and forced labour.

Main achievements in 2018:
  • Building Fair Recruitment capacity by training people at province and district level directly involved with recruitment of cotton pickers. ILO international experts trained 6,300 people in 2017 and additional 7,000 people in 2018.
  • Facilitating dialogue between the government and human rights activists. The dialogue began in 2017 and has been institutionalized in 2018. Activists now participate in Coordination Council chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • Conducting Third-Party Monitoring of the cotton harvest using mix of qualitative and quantitative data. Over 11,000 interviews conducted in 2018 as part of field-visits, focus groups, key informant interviews, and telephone polls.
  • Training labour inspectors, public prosecutors and human rights activists on investigation techniques of forced labour. 800 people trained across the country using content and inspiration from the ILO Training Centre in Turin, Italy.
  • Strengthening feedback mechanisms operated by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Federation of Trade Unions. These mechanisms received, tracked and resolved 200 forced labour cases in 2017 and over 2,500 cases during the cotton harvest in 2018.
  • Enabling journalists to freely cover forced labour issues by training journalists, organizing press conferences, and media awards in cooperation with the Development Strategy Centre of Uzbekistan. 250 journalists trained in 2018.
  • Facilitating exchange of best practices at the international level. For example by inviting Uzbekistan as a path-finder country in Alliance 8.7.
  • Communicating progress effectively in the media by contributing to 2018 articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, EurasiaNet as well as local Uzbek media. Using social media extensively to raise awareness of labour rights and to communicate important developments.