The World Bank welcomes ILO findings concluding there was no systematic recruitment of students, teachers, doctors and nurses in this year’s cotton harvest and that systematic use of child labor has ended. It is also reassuring to note the ILO concluded there is strong political will from the central government to end fundamental labor rights’ violations demonstrated through dismissals, demotions and fines of local officials across the country for violations related to forced labor.
The World Bank is also encouraged by the fact that for the first time independent Uzbek human rights activists participated in monitoring the 2018 cotton harvest. They were free to conduct their own independent monitoring without restrictions by ILO or the government.
The ILO also points to another important step toward eradicating forced labor, the government has boosted wages to increase the incentive for people to pick cotton voluntarily.
Continued progress on eradicating forced labor comes as Uzbekistan has made rapid progress in adopting major reforms to transform its economy. In less than two years, the government has been liberalizing its currency, lifting trade and investment barriers, improving business regulations, and opening markets to attract private sector investment and boost exports.