Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uzbekistan

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uzbekistan, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa498c.html [accessed 29 December 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 Labor3593
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2006:4.3
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2006:4.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2006:4.1
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:12 school years
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2004:100
Net primary enrollment rate (%):
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:84.1
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Numerous credible sources report the widespread, compulsory mobilization of child labor in Uzbekistan during the annual cotton harvest. There are no reliable figures on the number of children involved in the cotton harvest, which is thought to vary considerably from region to region and year to year.3594 During the latest harvest in the fall of 2007, schools closed for approximately one month in some rural regions to allow children to pick cotton.3595 There have been reports indicating that some children have had to endure poor living conditions during the harvest.3596 Although most children involved in the cotton harvest are older than 15 years, there have been reports of children as young as age 11 years participating.3597 Some children from Uzbekistan migrate to south Kazakhstan with their families during the harvest season to work in the cotton industry.3598

There are also reports that children grow silk worm cocoons in rural areas of Uzbekistan.3599 Children also work in street vending,3600 services, construction, building materials manufacturing, and transportation.3601 In urban areas, children as young as 7 or 8 years routinely work in family businesses during school holidays.3602

Girls are engaged in forced prostitution in Uzbekistan and are trafficked internally and externally, including to destinations in the Persian Gulf, Asia, Russia, and Western Europe for sexual exploitation.3603 The number of cases registered with the IOM involving minors trafficked from Uzbekistan for sexual exploitation decreased from 44 cases in 2005 to 27 cases in 2007.3604

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Constitution sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years.3605 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 years 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.3606 Children must receive an annual medical examination at their employer's expense to be eligible for work.3607 A 2001 Government Decree bans children under 18 years from working in unhealthy conditions, including the manual harvesting of cotton; however, the decree was not commonly enforced.3608

The law prohibits forced labor, except when fulfilling a court sentence.3609 The law prohibits earning money from operating brothels or promoting prostitution, and the penalty is imprisonment from 5 to 10 years.3610 The law also 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, and trafficking of children outside the country is punishable with 5 to 8 years in prison.3611 The minimum age for military recruitment is 18 years.3612

The law does not provide jurisdiction for inspectors from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection to focus on child labor enforcement.3613 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, USDOS 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.3614

The Ministry of Internal Affairs Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit and the Prosecutor's Office have investigated numerous trafficking-related crimes.3615 At least 250 persons were convicted of trafficking-related crimes in 2006 and 2007.3616 As of January 2008, at least 66 traffickers were serving sentences of 6 months to 3 years in prison.3617 Border Guards have been instructed to look for instances of trafficking, particularly among unaccompanied young women.3618 Antitrafficking training was added to the curriculum for young officers at the Ministry of Interior training academy in 2007. There were unconfirmed reports of government officials involved in trafficking-related bribery and fraud.3619

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

In cooperation with ILO-IPEC and in consultations with a multi-agency working group, the Cabinet of Ministers in 2007 adopted a 4-year (2007-2011) national action plan on securing child welfare in Uzbekistan and combating child labor in agriculture through revising current practices and establishing a child labor monitoring system.3620 During the reporting period, the Government of Uzbekistan took steps towards the ratification of ILO Conventions 138 and 182 and adoption of a comprehensive anti-trafficking plan.3621 The Government works with Mahalla organizations, a pre-Soviet system of community-based management and social services 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 dangers and eliminate hazardous conditions for minors.3622

The Government of Uzbekistan participated in a USDOL-funded USD 2.5 million sub-regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC. It was intended 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.3623 The German Government has also provided funding to ILO-IPEC for a USD 1.56 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.3624 Uzbek juvenile delinquency officials participated in ILO-IPEC trainings and disseminated information within their agencies.3625

In June 2007, an interim anti-trafficking plan was developed by the Government of Uzbekistan. The Government operates an inter-agency working group to combat trafficking in persons.3626 Through U.S. Government programs and NGOs, both Uzbek consular officials abroad and domestic law enforcement officials have received training in dealing with trafficking victims.3627 NGOs reported that law enforcement officials are more aware of trafficking issues and sensitive toward victims than in past years.3628

The Government has approved a program under which IOM meets returning trafficking victims at the airport and assists them with entry processing and formulating their preliminary statements for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Policy, border patrol, and consular officials referred trafficking victims to IOM for assistance.3629 Between 2003 and 2007, with the Government's support, the IOM repatriated 122 children who were trafficked for sexual exploitation and 16 children who were trafficked for labor exploitation.3630 In 2007, the Government, in cooperation with UNICEF, began a program to research internal trafficking of children in Uzbekistan.3631 It also supported a public awareness campaign and broadcast anti-trafficking messages on State-controlled television and radio. In addition to general anti-trafficking information, the campaign promoted the use of 10 anti-trafficking hotlines operated by NGOs.3632 The Government placed awareness-raising posters on buses and in passport offices and consular sections.3633


3593 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see U.S. Department of State, "Uzbekistan," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5, 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100623.htm.

3594 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," Section 6d. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Uzbekistan: Focus on Rural Schools", IRINnews.org,, [online], August 10, 2004 [cited December 6, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=42608&SelectRegion=Central_Asia&SelectCountry=UZBEKISTAN .

3595 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, June 6, 2008. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 6d. See also 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_monoculture. pdf.

3596 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, June 6, 2008. See also International Crisis Group, The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture.

3597 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, June 6, 2008. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," Section 6d.

3598 U.S. Embassy – Astana, reporting, December 3, 2007.

3599 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, June 6, 2008. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008. See also Cango.net, The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future.

3600 Najibullah Farangis, Central Asia: For Many Young Uzbeks and Tajiks, Working is a Way of Life, [previously online] May 27, 2003 [cited June 15, 2005]; available from [hard copy on file]. 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], 33; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.28/Uzbekistan.doc.

3601 Cango.net, The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future.

3602 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 6d.

3603 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," sections 5, 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 1, 2007.

3604 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3605 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3606 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

3607 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

3608 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 6d.

3609 Government of Uzbekistan, Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, (December 8, 1992), article 37; available from http://www.umid.uz/Main/Uzbekistan/Constitution/constitution.html.

3610 Penal Code Clauses 121 and 127 as cited by Government of Uzbekistan, "Uzbekistan," in Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offenses Against Children, 2007; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaUzbekistan.asp. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3611 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 5.

3612 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Uzbekistan," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/.

3613 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3614 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, August 26, 2005. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 6d.

3615 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3616 Ibid.

3617 U.S. Department of State, "Uzbekistan (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2008, Washington, DC, June 4, 2008; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/105389.htm.

3618 U.S. Department of State, "Uzbekistan (Tier 3)," in Trafficking in Persons Report-2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/.

3619 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2008: Uzbekistan."

3620 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, August 1, 2007.

3621 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, June 6, 2008.

3622 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3623 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.

3624 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.

3625 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008.

3626 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 5.

3627 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3628 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2008: Uzbekistan."

3629 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 5.

3630 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

3631 Ibid. E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 1, .

3632 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Uzbekistan." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uzbekistan," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 20, 2006.

3633 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, reporting, December 4, 2007.

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