March 2, 2021

Slavery in the cotton fields still exists

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slavery UzbekFrom Debra Rosen,

You may think forced labour in cotton fields has been consigned to the history books, a relic of the transatlantic slave trade.

But in every year over a million children and adults are forced into the cotton fields by their government to meet daily picking quotas during the harvest season. Doctors are dragged from their hospitals. Some colleges stand empty as teachers and students are forced to work the fields.

And it doesn’t end there. In Uzbekistan’s last cotton harvest, eleven citizens forced to pick cotton lost their lives, including , a 63­-year-­old farmer who died of a heart attack after being beaten by an official of the Department of Internal Affairs, , and , a six-year-old schoolboy who accompanied his mother to the cotton fields, napped in a trailer, and suffocated when cotton was loaded on top of him

Surely no company would want to be associated with this despicable trade? Unfortunately there are some pretty big customers for Uzbekistan’s slave-picked cotton — Daewoo International being the biggest.

Daewoo has continued doing business in Uzbekistan even after publicly acknowledging that the Uzbek government uses forced labour to produce the cotton it buys and processes.2 If Daewoo were to stop operations in Uzbekistan and publicly pledge its opposition to the Uzbek government’s forced labour system, Daewoo would send a strong message to the Uzbek government that forced labour cannot continue.

Tell Daewoo to stop doing business with Uzbekistan until the government has ended the use of forced labour in its cotton industry by going to: http://www.walkfree.org/daewoo-cotton/?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daewoo-cotton&utm_content=Daewoo_Petition_Launch_en_Inactive_Ex_06Jun14

The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan is one of the largest producers of cotton globally. While the Uzbek authorities and companies like Daewoo continue to rake in the profits from the cotton trade, children and adults subjected to this state­-orchestrated system of modern slavery miss out on education or their wages, and many citizens are threatened and beaten.

Well over 100 apparel companies from all over the world have taken a stand and pledged not to buy Uzbek cotton, to push the Uzbek government to end its slave labour system. Whilst these companies are sending a strong message, Daewoo continues to do direct business with the government of Uzbekistan, undermining the commitments undertaken by well­-known retailers. In return, Daewoo benefits from a discounted price for Uzbek cotton and tax incentives from the Uzbek government.

Call on Daewoo to help end modern slavery in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.

Thank you in advance for your support. If you have a moment, please forward this email to 3 of your friends so we can move one step closer to building a world free of modern slavery.

In solidarity,

Debra, Jayde, Joanna, Mich and the Walk Free team

P.S. If you agree it’s unacceptable for any company to knowingly profit from slavery, click to send this message to Daewoo now: http://www.walkfree.org/daewoo-cotton/

 

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