Cotton from Uzbekistan Proposed for Removal from Child Labor List
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is accepting comments through Aug. 30 on a proposal to remove cotton from Uzbekistan from a list of products that may have been produced by forced or child labor.
Executive Order 13126 prohibits federal agencies from acquiring goods, wares, articles, and merchandise that have been mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced or indentured child labor, and the so-called EO 13126 list (available here) identifies products that the DOL has a reasonable basis to believe might meet that criterion. Federal contractors who supply the products on this list must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce them and that, on the basis of those efforts, they are unaware of any such use of child labor.
Cotton from Uzbekistan was placed on the EO 13126 list in 2010 after multiple sources indicated that school administrators, at the direction of central and local governments, systematically mobilized children as young as seven years old for participation in the annual cotton harvest. However, the DOL states that it has received recent, credible, and corroborated information from various sources that forced child labor has been significantly reduced to isolated incidents. Further, the country’s government has taken steps to improve the monitoring environment and follow up on all reports of child labor and forced labor in the cotton harvest.