Uzbekistan again mobilized over a million forced laborers, including schoolchildren, to harvest its billion-dollar cotton crop this autumn, according to a detailed November 27 report from the Cotton Campaign, a coalition of labor and rights activists. It was a deadly year.
Eleven citizens lost their lives as a result of the forced-labor system this year. The tragic losses included Tursunali Sadikov, a 63-year-old farmer who died of a heart attack after being beaten by a Department of Internal Affairs official, and Amirbek Rakhmatov, a six-year-old schoolboy who accompanied his mother to the cotton fields, napped in a trailer, and suffocated when cotton was loaded on top of him.
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