- 45-50% of the cotton is harvested by children;
- Though the government announced the harvest completed in early November, many children are still being forced to work in the fields picking the last remnants;
- Officials are withholding 60% of already miserly wages from the children for the "rent" of their schoolbooks--so instead of 5 US cents per kilogram picked, they may get 2. For high school and college students who are forced to board near the fields or in them, the percent withheld is even higher to cover the cost of their food (more on this later);
- Children down to the third grade have been mobilized (those are 8 and 9 year olds);
- Teachers and other officials encountered by the researchers are taking more pains to try to convince observers that the process is "voluntary," perhaps indicating a greater degree of surveillance and official pressure than in years past.
Today the Veritas human rights group in Uzbekistan distributed their preliminary report on this year's cotton harvest, with some photos to accompany it. The report is not yet on the web, or in English, so I'll post its most striking findings here. Activists from the group surveyed conditions in 11 provinces; they recently toured through four provinces and found the following: