Old Industry, New Vision! Uzbekistan Cotton Undergoing Change

Published November 13th, 2019 - 07:24 GMT

An ex-Soviet nation, Uzbekistan is the world's sixth-largest producer of cotton. Since the Soviet era, production targets have led to forced labor and a heavy environmental toll. 

While child labor was notably wound down under pressure from an international boycott, state employees were still called up every year to satisfy cotton quotas.

And still hundreds of western apparel and textile firms are part of a decade-long boycott of cotton from the country over forced and child labor practices, following a campaign by activists against this.

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A picture taken on October 24, 2019 shows a cotton plantations outside Tashkent. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy Korsuntsev / AFP

A picture taken on October 24, 2019 shows a cotton plantations outside Tashkent. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy Korsuntsev / AFP

Labour in Uzbekistan cotton fields (Twitter)

Labour in Uzbekistan cotton fields (Twitter)

Cotton harvesting. A woman collecting cotton  (Shutterstock)

Cotton harvesting. A woman collecting cotton (Shutterstock)

A hand touches a boll of ripe cotton, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)

A hand touches a boll of ripe cotton, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)

A Uzbekistan's cotton grower looks on as she works in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy KORSUNTSEV / AFP

A Uzbekistan's cotton grower looks on as she works in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy KORSUNTSEV / AFP

Uzbekistan's cotton growers walk in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent (Twitter)

Uzbekistan's cotton growers walk in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent (Twitter)

A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest (Twitter)

A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest (Twitter)

Some big Western retailers are boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan because of the government’s taste for slave labour (Twitter)

Some big Western retailers are boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan because of the government’s taste for slave labour (Twitter)

Uzbekistan has nearly eliminated forced labour from its cotton industry (Twitter)

Uzbekistan has nearly eliminated forced labour from its cotton industry (Twitter)

Uzbekistan’s cotton fields (Twitter)

Uzbekistan’s cotton fields (Twitter)

Hand pickers getting their sacks of cotton weighed, the prize for picking 500 kg in a day is a new car (Twitter)

Hand pickers getting their sacks of cotton weighed, the prize for picking 500 kg in a day is a new car (Twitter)

The cotton field under a blue cloudy sky (Shutterstock)

The cotton field under a blue cloudy sky (Shutterstock)

A picture taken on October 24, 2019 shows a cotton plantations outside Tashkent. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy Korsuntsev / AFP
Labour in Uzbekistan cotton fields (Twitter)
Cotton harvesting. A woman collecting cotton  (Shutterstock)
A hand touches a boll of ripe cotton, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)
A Uzbekistan's cotton grower looks on as she works in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy KORSUNTSEV / AFP
Uzbekistan's cotton growers walk in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent (Twitter)
A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest (Twitter)
Some big Western retailers are boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan because of the government’s taste for slave labour (Twitter)
Uzbekistan has nearly eliminated forced labour from its cotton industry (Twitter)
Uzbekistan’s cotton fields (Twitter)
Hand pickers getting their sacks of cotton weighed, the prize for picking 500 kg in a day is a new car (Twitter)
The cotton field under a blue cloudy sky (Shutterstock)
A picture taken on October 24, 2019 shows a cotton plantations outside Tashkent. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy Korsuntsev / AFP
A picture taken on October 24, 2019 shows a cotton plantations outside Tashkent. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy Korsuntsev / AFP
Labour in Uzbekistan cotton fields (Twitter)
Labour in Uzbekistan cotton fields (Twitter)
Cotton harvesting. A woman collecting cotton  (Shutterstock)
Cotton harvesting. A woman collecting cotton (Shutterstock)
A hand touches a boll of ripe cotton, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)
A hand touches a boll of ripe cotton, Uzbekistan (Shutterstock)
A Uzbekistan's cotton grower looks on as she works in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy KORSUNTSEV / AFP
A Uzbekistan's cotton grower looks on as she works in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent, on October 24, 2019. A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest. Yuriy KORSUNTSEV / AFP
Uzbekistan's cotton growers walk in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent (Twitter)
Uzbekistan's cotton growers walk in a cotton plantations outside Tashkent (Twitter)
A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest (Twitter)
A small revolution is taking shape in Uzbekistan: the State wants to eradicate forced labour in its cotton industry, after having, for decades, forced hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to work during the harvest (Twitter)
Some big Western retailers are boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan because of the government’s taste for slave labour (Twitter)
Some big Western retailers are boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan because of the government’s taste for slave labour (Twitter)
Uzbekistan has nearly eliminated forced labour from its cotton industry (Twitter)
Uzbekistan has nearly eliminated forced labour from its cotton industry (Twitter)
Uzbekistan’s cotton fields (Twitter)
Uzbekistan’s cotton fields (Twitter)
Hand pickers getting their sacks of cotton weighed, the prize for picking 500 kg in a day is a new car (Twitter)
Hand pickers getting their sacks of cotton weighed, the prize for picking 500 kg in a day is a new car (Twitter)
The cotton field under a blue cloudy sky (Shutterstock)
The cotton field under a blue cloudy sky (Shutterstock)