© Simon Buxton / Anti-Slavery

Parents who refuse to pay for cotton harvest must pick cotton on their own

“Parents of kids studying at schools in the Asaka district in Andijan region are being extorted to pay money for the cotton harvest. The school administration is collecting from 5 000 – 10 000 Uzbek Som from pupils of all years and levels. I witnessed it myself.

All parents were asked to come to the schools for a parent meeting. We were told that it (the cotton harvest) was an “honorable holiday”  and that we would have to pay. We were also told that parents who refused to make a contribution for the cotton harvest must pick cotton on their own.

As we were told, each group must hire a worker and send him/her to the cotton field. Teachers also warned us “not to spread this information on the internet”.

My daughter is a first-year pupil in School No.58, and my son is a fifth-year pupil in School No.59.”