Slavery has been around in some form or another for a very long time - and it appears to be making a comeback in Uzbekistan. IWPR reports that in the run-up to the long awaited elections in Uzbekistan the government has cracked down on cotton harvesters, including the compulsory participation of students in gathering the crop.
"A new system is in place where harvesters are organised into groups which have a policeman and someone from the prosecution service attached to them to ensure they do their work. Students and schoolchildren have always been used as free labour for the cotton harvest, but while the police presence is nothing new, the deployment of SNB officers is. A student from Andijan told Fergana.ru that policemen were collecting people like him and sending them off to the fields. “They have special people with them who photograph us to ensure no one skips off work. Bogus sick-notes don’t help any more,” said the student."
If ensuring the harvest by any means is Karimov's way of maintaining support for his regime, the coming elections in December will mark nothing more than a continuation of authoriatrianism.