Uzbekistan is the worlds fifth largest producer and second largest exporter of cotton in the world and unlike other countries where child labor is common it is the totalitarian state of uzbekistans official policy to employ children. Forced child labour in cotton production is a practice in uzbekistan and the uzbekistani government have long employed children as young as 9 in the industry from a very young age children are reared to look forward to harvest time known as pahta and to enjoy harvesting the cotton as an opportunity for them to contribute to their nations prosperity. Forced labor and child labor in the cotton sector of uzbekistan is unique to the world it is a state controlled system under the direction of a president in power since the end of the soviet union which violates the fundamental rights of millions of uzbek citizens each year cotton picking is dangerous work. This book looks at the post soviet transition of uzbekistans economy and social life through a lens of child labor in cotton production bilal bhat employs results of multiple surveys to illustrate the paradoxes of the collapse of the post soviet agricultural sector in central asian countries. Cotton production in uzbekistan is governed by a quota system which holds regional and local government officials responsible for mobilizing sufficient labor to meet established production targets21 in past years this practice led to the mass mobilization of children as young as 11 for forced child labor in the cotton harvest
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