U.S. Department of State Fails to hold Uzbekistan Accountable

For new visitors to this site, generally we discuss large, U.S. companies who are operating ethically in regards to human rights throughout their supply chains.  However, it is also expected that our government will protect workers providing products to our country.

Uzbekistan’s use of child labor in their cotton and silk production is widely known and publicized.  And yet, on June 27th, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report and did not downgrade Uzbekistan to Tier 3 status.  Tier 3 is for countries who do not comply with minimum standards and are not making substantial efforts to improve.  The report says, Uzbekistan “has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.”  The problem with this statement is that the Uzbek government does not acknowledge its use of forced, child labor in their cotton and silk production; so why would they allocate resources to a problem they do not recognize exists?  Secondly, the wording here, if implemented, is significant.

The International Labor Rights Forum, along with many other organizations, has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing their concern.

For more information on this subject and to learn which U.S. companies are banning the use of Uzbek cotton in their products, please see these two previous posts on this site:  Child Labor in Uzbekistan Cotton posted 9.26.10 and It’s Ground Hog Day…Child Labor in Uzbekistan Silk posted 10.02.10.

Let us know your thoughts on the use of child labor to harvest cotton and silk crops in Uzbekistan.

Until next time…

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