Last Updated: Thursday, 02 October 2014, 13:24 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uzbekistan

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uzbekistan, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495a59.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2000:16.5%4372
Minimum age of work:164373
Age to which education is compulsory:For 9 years4374
Free public education:Yes4375
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:100%4376
Net primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2000:79.6%4377
As of 2001, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:89%4378
Ratified Convention 138:No4379
Ratified Convention 182:No4380
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated4381

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, approximately 19.9 percent of boys and 12.9 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Uzbekistan.4382 Children work in agriculture in rural areas, where the widespread, compulsory mobilization of children to help with cotton harvests has been reported.4383 Schools close in some rural areas to allow pupils and teachers to work during the harvest, sometimes without remuneration. Reports indicate that children have been forced to spray harmful chemicals, with no protection, and to endure poor living conditions on farms located far from their homes and families.4384 There are reports that children help cultivate rice and raise silk worms in rural areas.4385 Children as young as 7 or 8 routinely work in family businesses in cities during school holidays and vacations.4386 Children also work in street vending,4387 services, construction, building materials manufacturing, and transportation.4388 Older children frequently work as temporary hired workers.4389 The Commission on Minors registered 15,000 children living and working on the streets between 2001 and 2005.4390 Child beggars are present in Tashkent.4391 Minor girls are engaged in forced prostitution and are trafficked internally and externally, including to destinations in the Persian Gulf, Asia, Russia and Western Europe, for sexual exploitation.4392

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Constitution sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years.4393 Fourteen-year-olds may only work in light labor that does not negatively affect their health and/or development.4394 Children 14 to 16 years are required to obtain written permission from a parent or guardian in order to work, as long as work does not interfere with their studies.

Children ages 14 to 16 may only work 12 hours per week while school is in session and 24 hours per week during school vacation. Children 16 to 18 years may only work 18 hours per week when school is in session and 36 hours per week during school vacations.4395 In addition to establishing limited work hours for minors, the law prohibits children under 18 years from working in unfavorable labor conditions.4396 Prior to employment, children under 18 years must undergo a medical examination to establish their suitability for their chosen work and must repeat the examination at the employer's expense once a year until they become 18.4397

The law prohibits forced labor, except when fulfilling a court sentence.4398 The law prohibits profit from promoting prostitution or maintaining brothels. Penalties increase when a child is involved, which can result in jail sentences of 5 to 10 years.4399 The law prohibits trafficking, with higher penalties when victims are taken out of the country. The penalty for recruitment for trafficking is 6 months to 3 years in prison. Trafficking of children outside the country is punishable with 5 to 8 years in prison.4400

The law does not provide jurisdiction for inspectors from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection to focus on child labor enforcement.4401 Instead, the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Interior's criminal investigators are responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws. While enforcement appears effective in deterring child labor in the formal sector, the U.S. Department of State reports that it is not effective in regulating children's work in family-based employment and in the agricultural sectors. There were no reports of enforcement efforts in the cotton industry.4402 An anti-trafficking unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs investigates trafficking-related crimes.4403 The government has investigated numerous trafficking-related crimes through the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit and the Prosecutor's Office.4404

There were no reports of inspections resulting in legal proceedings or administrative penalties for violations of domestic child labor laws.4405 Allegations have been made against some local officials working for the Ministry of the Interior, customs, and border guards for accepting bribes and assisting traffickers.4406

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Although the Government of Uzbekistan does not have a comprehensive policy on the eradication of child labor, it publicly acknowledged the existence of child labor in Uzbekistan in 2006.4407 Representatives from the Government of Uzbekistan are working with neighboring countries to gather information about the child labor situation in Central Asia. USDOL has provided funding to ILO-IPEC for a USD 2.5 million sub-regional project to enhance the capacity of national institutions to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Uzbekistan and to share information and experiences across the sub-region, including in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan.4408 The German Government has provided funding to ILOIPEC for a EURO 1 million sub-regional project to combat the worst forms of child labor through education and youth employment in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan.4409

In 2006, ILO-IPEC launched a social dialogue process on child labor through the creation of a multi-agency government working group that included: UNICEF; Cabinet of Ministers Social Complex; Ministries of Labor, Health, Public Education, Higher and Specialized Education; National Human Rights Center; Children's Fund; and trade unions. The working group met six times in 2006 and once in 2007 during this publication's reporting period. Topics discussed included cotton picking and street children.4410 In cooperation with ILO-IPEC, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a four-year national action plan on securing child welfare in Uzbekistan in January 2006. The national action plan includes reviewing the ILO conventions 138 and 182 for ratification and combating child labor in agriculture through revising current practices and establishing a child labor monitoring system.4411

The government operates an inter-agency working group to combat trafficking in persons, and actively cooperates with local NGOs and the OSCE on anti-trafficking training of law enforcement and consular officials.4412 Through U.S. government programs and nongovernmental organizations, Uzbek consular officials abroad and domestic law enforcement officials have received training in dealing with trafficking victims. The government also works with Mahalla organizations, a pre-Soviet system of community – based management and social service provision, to protect children at the community level through a neighborhood monitoring mechanism. The government also has an education campaign through the Mahallas to publicize the dangers and eliminate hazardous conditions for minors.4413

The government allows the IOM to meet returning children rescued from trafficking at the airport, provide assistance, and help them with their preliminary statements to the Interior Ministry.4414 In cooperation with the IOM, the government is engaged in a research study to determine the extent of trafficking in Uzbekistan and participates in a trafficking prevention campaign and a law enforcement training program.4415 It also actively supported a public awareness campaign including posters on buses, subway cars, and at passport offices as well as advertising on state-controlled television and radio.4416 The Cabinet of Ministers approved the ILO Red Card to Child Labor campaign and public service announcements aired on television stations in July 2006.4417 Numerous newspaper articles and television programs on victims of trafficking, including minors, have appeared in state controlled media.4418

UNICEF's HIV/AIDS prevention project supports existing government efforts to improve awareness of healthy lifestyles for at-risk adolescents including children engaged in sex work.4419 In cooperation with UNICEF in 2007, the government has begun a program to research internal trafficking of children in Uzbekistan.4420


4372 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

4373 U.S. Department of State, "Uzbekistan," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78848.htm.

4374 Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On Education" (1992) as cited in Ministry of Public Education and Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, National Action Plan on Education for All in the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 2002, 13; available from http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/efa/UzbekistanNatlPlan.pdf.

4375 Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 1992, (December 8, 1992); available from http://www.umid.uz/Main/Uzbekistan/Constitution/constitution.html.

4376 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4377 Ibid.

4378 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4379 ILO, List of Ratifications of International Labor Conventions, C138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973, accessed February 5, 2007; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-byConvYear.cfm?hdroff=1&Lang=EN&conv=C138.

4380 ILO, List of Ratifications of International Labor Conventions, C182 Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999, accessed February 5, 2007; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-byConvYear.cfm?hdroff=1&Lang=EN&conv=C182.

4381 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labor: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006.

4382 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4383 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006. See also UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Uzbekistan: Focus on Rural Schools, [online] August 10, 2004 [cited February 2, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=42608&SelectRegion=Central_Asia&SelectCountry=UZBEKIST AN.

4384 International Crisis Group, The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture, February 28, 2005, 17-18; available from http://www.icg.org/library/documents/asia/central_asia/093_curse_of_cotton_central_asia_destructive_mono culture.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, August 11, 2004. See also Legal Aid Society, STATUS, Center for Social and Humanitarian Researches, Business Women Association (Kokand), Mekhri, Beguborlik, SABO, PIASC, KRIDI, Mekhr Tayanchi, UNESCO Youth Club, Kokand Children's Club, Shygiz Children's Club Kukus, Mothers and Daughters, Bolalar va Kattalar Children's Club, Save the Children (UK), and UNICEF, Supplementary NGO Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Uzbekistan, 2001, [ accessed October 22, 2006,] 10, 33; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.28/Uzbekistan.doc. See also Integrated Regional Information Network, "Uzbekistan: Forced Labour Continues in Cotton Industry", IRINNews.org, [online], December 9, 2005 [cited October 22, 2006]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=50586&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=UZBEKISTAN.

4385 Cango.net, Initiative Newsletter: The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future, [online] 2002.

4386 U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Foreign Labor Trends Report: Uzbekistan 2006, December 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/78396.htm.

4387 Najibullah Farangis, Central Asia: For Many Young Uzbeks and Tajiks, Working is a Way of Life, [online] May 27, 2003 [cited June 15, 2005]. See also Legal Aid Society, STATUS, Center for Social and Humanitarian Researches, Business Women Association (Kokand), Mekhri, Beguborlik, SABO, PIASC, KRIDI, Mekhr Tayanchi, UNESCO Youth Club, Kokand Children's Club, Shygiz Children's Club Kukus, Mothers and Daughters, Bolalar va Kattalar Children's Club, Save the Children (UK), and UNICEF, Supplementary NGO Report, 33.

4388 Cango.net, The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future.

4389 Ibid.

4390 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4391 Study by Mekhr Tayanchi (Support of Love) as cited by Uzbekistan Daily Digest, "Homeless Children Become Focus of Concern in Uzbekistan", September 19, 2003; available from http://www.eurasianet.org/resource/uzbekistan/hypermail/200307/0023.shtml.

4392 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 5, 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, August 26, 2005. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, Email Communication to USDOL official, August 1, 2007.

4393 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4394 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, October 16, 2002. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 6d.

4395 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, Email Communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

4396 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1996, CRC/C/41/Add.8, prepared by Government of Uzbekistan, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, December 27, 1999, paras. 315 and 318; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/aacfcf7e3feaabf2c1256a4d00391fbc/$F ILE/G0140749.pdf. See also International Crisis Group, The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture, 18.

4397 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, Email Communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

4398 Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 1992, article 37.

4399 Penal Code Clauses 121 and 127 as cited by Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children – Uzbekistan, accessed October 22, 2006; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaUzbekistan.asp.

4400 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 5.

4401 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4402 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, August 26, 2005. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 6d.

4403 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, August 26, 2005.

4404 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4405 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 6d.

4406 See also U.S. Department of State, "Uzbekistan (Tier 3)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/.

4407 Ibid.

4408 ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project: Regional Program on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, project document, RER/04/P54/USA, Geneva, September 2004, vii.

4409 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Central Asia through Education and Youth Employment (EYE): An Innovative Regional Program, project document, Geneva, 2005, cover page, 42.

4410 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, Email Communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

4411 Ibid.

4412 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 5.

4413 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4414 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 5.

4415 IOM, Combating Trafficking in Persons in Central Asia: Prevention, Prosecution, Protection (ASPPP), accessed June 15, 2005.

4416 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Uzbekistan." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Uzbekistan," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4417 Ibid.

4418 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

4419 Ibid.

4420 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, Email Communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

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