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Finally Govt bans child labor in cotton fields
24
Sep '08
Growing pressure from apparel importers and retailers in the US and EU has finally met with positive response as Uzbekistan banned the use of child labor in its cotton fields.

As a proof of its resolve the Uzbek government signed and committed itself to two International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions against child labor on September 12. In abiding by this convention, the Government would henceforth prohibit children under the age of 16 to work during this upcoming cotton harvest season.

Uzbekistan, recognized as the world's third largest cotton exporter, produces more than 3.5 million tons of cotton annually. However, allegations that children aged 10-15 years are forced to labor in the cotton fields, have led major western retailers like Levi's, Tesco and Wal-Mart to take immediate action of excluding Uzbek cotton from their merchandise.

It was only last month that a group of four US trade associations urged Uzbek president to eliminate the practice of using child labor in the cotton fields. They also said that their members would strike a deal with only those business partners who follow workplace standards consistent with international labor standards.

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