In 2011, STOP THE TRAFFIK asked Australia’s fashion retailers to sign a pledge to stop knowingly buying cotton sourced from Uzbekistan. We also asked the public to stay informed on this issue and be part of the process of support for companies who did so. Countless companies signed the pledge and the positive steps now being taken in Uzbekistan cotton fields are a sign of its might. However, it is important to continue the pressure, and a new battle-line must be drawn, turning to a pledge against the cotton coming from Turkmenistan.
Through September, Uzbekistan (Uzbek), who exports 10% of the worlds cotton, making up 20% of the country’s total trade output, complete their cotton harvest. Uzbekistan has spent years being accused of both child labour and forced labour abuses during their cotton harvest. Uzbekistan appears to have used state sponsored forced labour, where civil servants such as teachers and doctors, as well as thousands of school children have been forced to be part of the cotton-picking process. Uzbekistan has faced international pressure due to the prevalence of this state sponsored forced labour, and has outwardly shown to try to improve the situation. Due to this, the US Department of Labor (USDOL) has moved to take Uzbekistan off of their Child Labor watch list, but they will remain on the Forced Labor list.
 International Cotton Advisory Committee, ‘Cotton This Week’, https://www.icac.org/cotton_info/publications/samples/weekly_estimates/8february05.pdf (2005)