Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Uzbekistan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||24 February 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Uzbekistan, 24 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b8e7a661f.html [accessed 18 December 2014]|
[From the introductory text accompanying this report on the U.S. Department of State website: "In most cases, the Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti-trafficking progress of countries that may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2010 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2009 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory."]
The Government of Uzbekistan has demonstrated mixed progress in addressing human trafficking problems since the release of the 2009 TIP Report. Although the government improved efforts to address sex trafficking and some forms of forced labor, the government did not take substantive action to end the use of government-compelled forced labor during this year's annual cotton harvest. The government continued to designate a quota for national cotton production and paid farmers artificially low prices for the cotton produced, which made it difficult for farmers to afford to hire consensual labor. During the 2009 fall harvest, school children were forced to pick cotton by local officials in 8 of 14 regions in the country.
The use of forced adult labor – including university students and government employees – increased during the 2009 harvest. Although the government made some symbolic efforts to condemn the use of forced child labor during the annual harvest, including the Ministry of Education's request of school directors to certify they would not force students to participate in the harvest, school closings were reported in most districts. The government did not take measurable steps to reduce adult forced labor in the cotton sector. International experts were not permitted to conduct an independent assessment of the use of forced labor during the 2009 cotton harvest, although UNICEF was permitted to do some monitoring of forced child labor. The government did not report efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, or punish government officials complicit in trafficking.
The Government of Uzbekistan continued to make significant progress on implementing its National Anti-Trafficking Action Plan including opening the first government-run shelter for sex trafficking victims in November 2009. NGOs reported that the government assisted in finding employment for victims of sex trafficking and enforced anti-discrimination protections included in its 2008 comprehensive anti-trafficking law. The government also continued its efforts to improve the collection of law enforcement trafficking data through the creation of a database expected to be operational in early 2010.