EW NEWS DESK TEAM
Uzbekistan has been a known user of forced labor for agricultural projects, such as harvesting cotton. Nevertheless, the World Bank plans to provide more than $500 million in financing to the Uzbekistan government for agricultural projects.
When the news of the impending loan broke, activists for human rights groups began to gather outside of the World Bank's headquarters in Washington D.C. The protesters contend that the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilizes its citizens, pushing them into the fields to raise revenue from the cotton harvest. Uzbekistan has the dubious distinction of running the world's largest state-operated system of forced labor. In fact, pensioners are forced to pick cotton or submit half of their pension, students are threatened with expulsion for failing to participate, and even professionals like teachers and doctors are forced to participate.