Torture in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2018                    

Republic of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country of which 11% consists of intensely cultivated, irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of its population lives in densely populated rural communities. Uzbekistan is now the world's second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; it relies heavily on cotton production as the major source of export earnings and has come under increasing international criticism for the use of child labor in its annual cotton harvest.

Description: Description: Uzbekistan

A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Uzbekistan is a source country for women and girls trafficked to the UAE, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Israel for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men are trafficked to Kazakhstan and Russia for the purpose of forced labor in the construction, cotton, and tobacco industries. Men and women are trafficked internally for the purposes of domestic servitude, forced labor, in the agricultural and construction industries, and for commercial sexual exploitation. Some girls are also trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Many school-age children, college students, and faculty are forced to pick cotton during the annual harvest. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009 [full country report]


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Uzbekistan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page to see which aspect(s) of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture

International Crisis Group, Asia Report N°9328, Bishkek/Brussels, 28 February 2005

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 5 October 2016]

The economics of Central Asian cotton are simple and exploitative.  Millions of the rural poor work for little or no reward growing and harvesting the crop.  Forced and child labor and other abuses are common.  Schoolchildren are still regularly required to spend up to two months in the cotton fields in Uzbekistan.  Despite official denials, child labor is still in use in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.  Students in all three countries must miss their classes to pick cotton. Little attention is paid to the conditions in which children and students work. Every year some fall ill or die.  Women do much of the hard manual labor in cotton fields, and reap almost none of the benefits. Cash wages are minimal, and often paid late or not at all.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 7   Status: Not Free

2018 Edition

[accessed 27 February 2019]


Economic exploitation remains a serious problem, as does the trafficking of women abroad for prostitution.  A 2009 law imposed stronger penalties for child labor, and in 2012, Mirziyoyev, then the prime minister, pledged to end the practice completely. In August 2017, the president issued a decree to formally ban forced agricultural labor by students, health workers, and teachers. During the subsequent cotton harvest, the government increased incentives for voluntary labor and granted access to international observers. Nevertheless, local officials still faced pressure to meet government quotas, and evidence of forced adult labor continued to be reported.

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 1 April 2019]

[accessed 1 July 2019]


In September the prime minister issued an order prohibiting the use of students, teachers and medical workers in the cotton harvest. Observers reported the order was inconsistently implemented. Cases of government-compelled forced labor of adults remained. The central government continued to demand farmers and local officials fulfill state-assigned cotton production quotas, and pressure to meet these quotas was apparent in reports of the mobilization of military personnel, prison labor, bazaar merchants, and factory workers, as well as urban professionals pressured to pay for a replacement picker.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[page 1013]

In addition to the meaningful efforts made towards eliminating forced child labor, the Prime Minister also issued a decree forbidding the forcible use of teachers, healthcare workers, and adult students in the cotton harvest in September 2017. (22) Evidence still shows that government officials forced over 300,000 adults to pick cotton during the reporting period. (26; 27; 1; 24; 28).

Uzbeks Prey to Modern Slave Trade

Times of Central Asia, Tashkent, May 23, 2008

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

When Abror, an unemployed engineer at the locomotive depot in Urgench, in northwest Uzbekistan, lost all hope of getting a job at home, he left for the Volgograd region of Russia in search of a better life.  But he found no job that matched his skills. Unwilling to go back to Uzbekistan, where his family and aged mother depended on him returning with money, he took a job with a local farmer. In return for weeding vegetable patches, feeding the poultry and cleaning the hen house, the farmer promised him a small wage.  Abror’s new life as a servant rapidly turned into a form of slavery. Far from giving him any wages, the farmer seized Abror’s identity papers and told him he was not going to pay him any money as he would have “nowhere to spend it”.

In spite of his grim experience in Volgograd, Abror plans to hire himself out again this spring to repay this debt.  “Once it gets warm, I’ll sell myself into slavery again,” he said. “What else can I do? Otherwise, my family of four will be left to live off my sick mother’s pension.”

Two Uzbekistani Agents arrested in Human Trafficking case

Pattaya City News, 10th July 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

The warrant stated that they are wanted on charges relating to human trafficking involving Uzbekistan Woman who are lured to Thailand to work as Prostitutes. Police arrested Miss Mayram Yakubova aged 54 and Miss Lola Mamadova aged 26 who were accused of running the operation. Evidence found in their room included log books containing names and outstanding debts for each woman. It appears that women would be brought over to Thailand at a cost of 200,000 Baht which was initially covered by the agents. The women would charge 1,500 Baht for sex with 1,000 Baht going to the Agent to pay off their debt. Police found additional passports for women who are thought to be operating as Prostitutes here in Pattaya.

Cotton Carries Heavy Cost For Uzbek Students

Ozoda Rakhmatullayeva, freelance journalist in Bukhara, Eurasianet, January 19, 2005

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

[accessed 2 March 2019]

University students forced to pick cotton during Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest have been left with mounds of crippling debts from their experience.  At the end of the two-month stint, the student said that he was presented with a bill for 9,000 sums, about $8.41, for the food provided – nearly the sum of his monthly stipend. Others claim debts as high as 25,000 sums, or about $23.

Defining Rights, Finding a Voice

Institute for War & Peace Reporting IWPR staff - The Women’s Reporting & Dialogue Programme, WPR Issue 16, 16 Dec 2005

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

Conservative agendas have also dominated. In Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, for instance, the authorities have restored community institutions such as the mahalla - a traditional form of self-government - and the court of elders. Conservative male institutions such as this can have a dramatically damaging effect on women’s rights.

Mahalla committees have sweeping powers to decide who will receive funds for social assistance, giving them significant leverage over families within their neighbourhood. With mahalla committees sometimes using this to pressure families, usually women and children. Once consequence of this is that women with political ambitions sometimes lose state benefits.

United States Government Supports Repatriation of Trafficking Victims

Embassy of the United States, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 01/25/2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

The meeting brought together Uzbek officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor’s General, as well as Uzbek diplomatic representatives to foreign countries with officials from Israel, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, South Korea, China, and the UAE.  The IOM has determined that these countries are the most common destinations for Uzbek victims of human trafficking.  The goal of the meeting was to establish effective mechanisms for returning and providing assistance to trafficking victims.

179 Victims of Trafficking Rescued in Uzbekistan

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, 2004-12-06

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

The project successfully helped many victims return to their homes from abroad. Reportedly, many Uzbeks are currently victims of human trafficking and are being employed as “virtual slaves” in Russia. Many victims report that the majority of individuals associated with the gangs who victimize so many Uzbeks desperate for work, are themselves Uzbeks.

Child labour and the High Street

BBC News, 30 October 2007

[accessed 16 January 2011]

As part of a special report we filmed children in Uzbekistan being forced to work in cotton fields instead of going to school.  For two-and-a-half months a year, classrooms are emptied across this Central Asian nation so that the crop can be harvested.  The cotton industry is big business and is completely controlled by the country's brutal authoritarian regime.

Report to the Congress: U.S. Policy and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Washington, DC, March 1, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

OSCE FIELD MISSIONS - UZBEKISTAN - Uzbekistan continued to take numerous steps backward on political reform during 2006. According to a little-known 2002 parliamentary resolution, Uzbekistan's next presidential election is to take place in December 2007. To date, Uzbek authorities have not indicated a desire to receive assistance in preparation for the election. During 2006, the government continued to pressure international NGOs and to repress civil society and opposition activities. In 2006, the Government of Uzbekistan forced 16, U.S.-based NGOs to close. In addition, throughout much of 2006, the OSCE Center in Tashkent was prevented from conducting any projects, and the Government of Uzbekistan successfully lobbied to change the Center to a project coordinator's office, seeking a much narrower focus for the OSCE's work in Uzbekistan. Nonetheless, the project coordinator's office was allowed to engage in a few projects by year's end, and still serves as an important resource and venue for human rights and democracy supporters.

CENTRAL ASIA: Special report on human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, ANKARA, 21 Oct 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also  be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

UZBEKISTAN - A GROWING SOURCE - But it is in neighbouring Uzbekistan where by far the largest numbers now come from. "Human trafficking in Uzbekistan is worsening and it is very problematic regarding the United Arab Emirates," Nadira Karimova, the head of Generation for the Future, a local NGO, told IRIN in the capital, Tashkent, adding that there were cases of people having been trafficked to Thailand, Malaysia and Israel, as well as Europe and the United States.

Men were mostly trafficked to Russia as labourers, whereas almost all the women were trafficked for sexual exploitation, she said. In an effort to tackle the issue, the NGO had opened a hotline and had been receiving calls from parents of young women who went abroad and subsequently fell prey to criminal groups. She added that the NGO was receiving at least 300 calls a month, many directly from victims of trafficking.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 16 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are engaged in prostitution in Uzbekistan.  Young women and possibly adolescent girls are reportedly trafficked to destinations in the Persian Gulf, Asia, and Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT - The Penal Code prohibits the recruitment of children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, with higher penalties for taking children out of the country.  In 2003, the government prosecuted 101 people for trafficking-related crimes; as of February 2004 there had been 80 convictions.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 16 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Traffickers operating within nightclubs, restaurants, or prostitution rings solicited women, many of whom had engaged in prostitution. In large cities such as Tashkent and Samarkand, traffickers used newspaper advertisements for marriage and fraudulent work opportunities abroad to lure victims. Travel agencies promising tour packages and work in Turkey, Thailand, and the UAE were also used for solicitation. In most cases traffickers confiscated travel documents once the women reached the destination country. Victims of labor trafficking were typically recruited in local regions and driven to Kazakhstan or Russia where they were often sold to "employers." Traffickers held victims in a form of debt bondage, particularly in the case of those trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Recruiters tended to live in the same neighborhood as the potential victim and often may even have known the victim. These recruiters introduced future victims to the actual traffickers, who provided transportation, airline tickets, visas, and instructions about meeting a contact in the destination country.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 16 January 2011]

Stop Violence Against Women – Country Page

The Advocates for Human Rights, October 2008

[accessed 16 January 2011]

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DK851 .K34 1997

[accessed 27 February 2019]

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Uzbekistan",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Uzbekistan]  [other countries]