The 2013 cotton harvest has now nearly come to a conclusion. As in previous year, mass forced labor throughout the country during each cotton season continues. This year, forced labour in cotton harvest has been particularly cynical. Authorities were trying to spread the idea that people are being sent to the cotton fields at their own free will, in order to earn some extra income and in the name of patriotism – for the good of the motherland. Having gathered hard evidence such as eyewitness accounts, documents, photographs and video footage we want to bring to your attention the fact that the government continues to use all possible repressive measures to force the maximum number of people from different professions to go and pick cotton. This method of mass exploitation of cheap labor of adults and children in the cotton fields is a highly lucrative business by which the government of Uzbekistan draws in immense profits each year.
In the second part of our video series titled “Cotton 2013 – The Big Lie”, we show you video and photo evidence we have gathered, depicting the continued exploitation of Uzbek citizens during cotton harvest season. It shows how the system works and by which mechanisms the mass mobilization is carried out.