The Department of Labor has issued a final determination 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.
The DOL states that cotton from Uzbekistan was placed on the EO 13126 list in 2010 because forced child labor was pervasive in the country’s cotton sector. However, the DOL has now received information that the use of forced child labor in the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has been significantly reduced to isolated incidents.