World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Children of Tajikistan harvest cotton for meager wages

Tajik children skip up to 380 school hours a year because of the cotton harvest

Children harvest up to 40 percent of cotton in Tajikistan. For this hard work they receive meager wages, Itar-Tass reported with reference to a report of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

Experts believe the conditions and ways to attract children to cotton harvesting works in Tajikistan do not meet the interests of schoolchildren, schools and parents. “The Tajikistan law prohibits children's labor. Yet, they collect up to 40 percent of cotton for meager wages to the detriment of their health and school education,” IOM's head of the mission  in Tajikistan Freredic Chenais said at a press conference in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

According to Chenais, children skip up to 380 school hours a year because of the cotton harvest, which is equal to one-third of the school plan. For four or five months of their works in cotton fields they receive the average of less than $20. About 70 percent of parents said the collection of cotton exerted negative influence on their children's health.

The IOM spokesman thinks the children's labor is becoming an easy solution for the lack of the labor force in Tajikistan's cotton-growing. About 630 thousand capable of working citizens leave abroad every harvesting season. As a rule, they go to work in Russia. This phenomenon is even more aggravated with the civil war, which has already taken more than 50 thousand lives, the expert stated.

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