Europe & Central Asia

Fewer Workers Forced to Prepare Uzbek Cotton Fields

For the first time in years, large numbers of public-sector employees were not forced to carry out spring fieldwork in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, although instances of child labor and forced labor were documented, according to a new report by the Uzbek-German Forum (UGF). Despite progress, “No Need for Forced Labor when Farmers are Empowered to… [READ MORE]

Kyrgyz Worker in Kazakhstan Paid $100 for 6 Months’ Work

Aldaberdi Karimov, 42, who lives in a remote Kyrgyzstan village in the Batken region, did not want to migrate from his country to find work to support his family, including his daughter, Ak Maral, now 5 years old. But like many in Kyrgyzstan, where remittances from workers abroad make up more than 25 percent of… [READ MORE]

Migrant Workers & Children Exploited in Kazakhstan

Workers who migrate from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan for jobs often do not receive their wages, are forced to work in unsafe and abusive conditions and even are kidnapped and held against their will in forced labor, according to a new report. “Invisible and Exploited in Kazakhstan” also found that children are forced to labor, with… [READ MORE]

Uzbek Union Leader Released from Prison

Uzbek union activist Fakhriddin Tillayev, in prison on a 10-year sentence and subjected to torture for attempting to organize an independent union for day laborers, was released over the weekend. Tillayev’s release was among the results sought by a Cotton Campaign delegation, now in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital, for unprecedented meetings with government officials, civil society… [READ MORE]

New Books Increase Access to Labor Law in Georgia

Three new Georgian books will help increase access to legal information and justice for workers and the organizations that represent them. The titles, which compile international labor standards and norms and national laws into three volumes, were presented at a Solidarity Center book launch in Georgia last week. “A low level of awareness among workers… [READ MORE]

Georgia Job Safety & Health Law Not in Line with ILO

Georgia’s new workplace safety and health law is a step forward but does not include sufficient enforcement mechanisms and only covers workers in a few industries, according to the Georgia Trade Union Confederation (GTUC). “What Georgia’s workers desperately need are laws to force employers to take their safety seriously, and hold them criminally responsible when… [READ MORE]

Children Forced to Labor in Turkmenistan Cotton Fields

Truckloads of children were sent to pick cotton during the Turkmenistan fall harvest, according to a new report by the Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN), an independent media and human rights organization. The children, along with tens of thousands of civil servants, including pregnant teachers, were forced to pick cotton for weeks in a government-led mass… [READ MORE]

Child Labor Returns to Uzbekistan’s Cotton Fields

  • November 1, 2017
  • Christopher Dunn

In recent years, Uzbekistan has increased the number of public-sector workers required to pick cotton, because the country nearly ended child labor in 2014 after pressure from the international community, including the Solidarity Center. Recent reports, however, indicate that the practice of forcing children to pick cotton has not ended in all parts of the… [READ MORE]

Kyrgyzstan’s Sherimbayeva: ‘We Are Stronger… Together’

Kymbat Sherimbayeva was born in Naryn Oblast, a mountainous and very cold region of Kyrgyzstan where most people support themselves through cattle breeding.  Seven years ago, 18-year-old Sherimbayeva left her village for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, seeking work. Youth un- and underemployment stands at 55 percent in Kyrgyzstan. Most young people feel forced to migrate to… [READ MORE]

Take Action in Support of Jailed Kazakh Union Leaders!

Two Kazak union leaders who were arrested and imprisoned in January after leading a hunger strike, have been convicted and fined exorbitant amounts for their protest against the government’s liquidation of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (KNPRK) in favor of a government-aligned federation. Amin Yeleusinov, chairman of the Oil Construction Company union, was… [READ MORE]