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ASHGABAT - As calls for the Turkmenistan government to intensify its efforts to eliminate state-imposed forced labour in the cotton industry are ramped up, news has emerged that public sector professionals such as teachers and doctors in three regions of the country have been relinquished from the usual obligation to harvest cotton or pay money to hire workers as their replacements.

Whilst many in the industry will hope that move signals the first step on the road towards eradicating forced labour in the central Asian country, there are also concerns that the measure is only temporary to coincide with an upcoming monitoring mission by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and representatives of the US Department of Labor.

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