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    Doctors Being Asked to Pick Cotton in Uzbekistan

    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

    Doctors and medical personnel are working in cotton fields in Uzbekistan.

    Child labor laws in Uzbekistan are forcing medical professionals to pick cotton. Several clothing companies are boycotting cotton harvested in Uzbekistan after reports of child labor.

    Cotton is one of Uzbekistan’s principle exports, and a major source of income for the country. Since children are no longer allowed to work, there is a worker shortage that is being filled by adult professionals.

    A nurse from a clinic in Tashkent told the BBC "Some people phoned our surgeon, who was with us in the fields. They would say things like: 'You operated on me a week ago. I've got a temperature - what shall I do?'"

    Clothing companies like H&M and Adidas have joined more than 60 other brands in signing a pledge to purchase cotton from another source until Uzbekistan bans children under the age of 15 from working in the cotton fields.

    Culturally, Uzbek children are encouraged to look forward to cotton harvesting season.

    Uzbekistan exports around 10 percent of the world’s cotton, but the material makes up about 45 percent of the country’s total exports.