WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 10, 2022 – The Cotton Campaign launched the Uzbek Cotton Pledge in 2009, consolidating efforts from brands, NGOs, and Uzbek civil society activists to put pressure on the Uzbekistan Government to stop using child and forced labor in their cotton harvest. After a decade of pressure, the Uzbekistan Government launched a reform effort in 2017 to end systemic, state-imposed forced labor. An independent monitoring report by the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights monitoring labor conditions during the 2021 Uzbek cotton harvest found no use of forced labor.
Today in Tashkent the Cotton Campaign announced the lifting of the global boycott of Uzbekistan cotton. The United States Fashion Industry Association is proud to support the Cotton Campaign, and the Cotton Pledge, during this decade-long endeavor to rid the Uzbekistan cotton supply chain of child and forced labor. USFIA, and the brands and retailers we represent, oppose any form of forced labor in the global apparel supply chain. We applaud the findings from the 2021 cotton harvest that Uzbekistan has achieved the elimination of systemic forced labor from cotton production. We encourage brands and retailers to take a fresh look at sourcing opportunities in Uzbekistan and to work with the Cotton Campaign to maintain responsible sourcing and robust due diligence in Uzbekistan. We also encourage the Government of Uzbekistan to make further progress in establishing the enabling environment for responsible sourcing—including the registration of NGOs working to monitor cotton harvests—in order to address remaining risks to labor and human rights and to assure brands that they can source from Uzbekistan with confidence.
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