Footage surfaced on social networks which reported that the principal of school in Koshkupir district of Khorezm region forcibly involved students in harvesting rice.
The schoolchildren said that, on the orders of the principal, they remove rice during lessons. The creator of the video tells them that they should go to class.
The provincial department of poverty reduction and employment stated that the situation was being studied by the district prosecutor's office and the labor rights inspector, but they did not confirm the fact of forced labor.
The message noted that 9th graders A.K., B.Sh., A.O. and B.O. “at the reqiest” of the head of Ibrohim Balikchi farm K. Khudayberganov “after lessons” and “for fee" were involved in collecting mown rice.
“The study did not find that the school principal forced minor students into forced labor,” the statement says.
“Explanatory letters were taken from the school principal, head of the department of preschool and school education, management psychologist and class teachers of schoolchildren. A conversation was held with the students with the participation of relevant specialists,” noted the regional employment department.
“Meanwhile, the actions of the head of the farm, who allowed the labor of [children] without taking into account their age, will be given a legal assessment,” the department said.
The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor, headed by Senate Chairman Tanzila Narbaeva, said it had taken the oversight of the situation and would provide information based on the findings of its study.
“According to the Constitution, forced labor is prohibited in our country, and national legislation provides for administrative and criminal liability for child and forced labor,” the commission said.
Facts of forced labor can be reported by calling the helpline numbers 1176 or 1092.
Child and forced labour is still widespread in Uzbekistan, despite the government claiming fully eradicating them in an aim to bleach its reputation. Even several Tashkent city schools force schoolchildren and teachers sweep the school yards.