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BRUSSELS – The use of forced labour remains a “systemic problem” in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan, claims the latest field dispatch from Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. The NGO’s research into the 2018 cotton harvest found that employees from most government enterprises and agencies, as well as factories, utility companies, banks and law enforcement agencies require their employees to pick cotton during the harvest, or pay for replacement pickers. From the end of October, it is claimed teachers and nurses were also forced into the cotton fields. Video footage from the Uzbek-German forum for human rights shows people who have been forced to pick cotton sleeping in disused trains.

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