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There are calls for the World Bank to acknowledge “violations in loan agreements to Uzbekistan” because of “credible evidence of forced labor” in the country’s cotton picking project area last season. A new report claims the Uzbekistan government forced education and medical workers, other public sector employees, private sector workers, people receiving benefits, and some college and university students to pick cotton involuntarily. “People faced consequences, including dismissal, loss of salary or benefits, and other punishments if they refused to pick cotton or failed to work hard enough,” say the researchers.

The 96- page report is produced by the Uzbek–German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), a German-based NGO dedicated to improving the human rights situation in Uzbekistan.