While Uzbekistan's use of forced labour to harvest cotton is well-documented, a new report says workers at a range of private and public-sector institutions have also been coerced to pick cotton in Turkmenistan this year, with children used in at least one area.

In its second review of the 2015 cotton harvest, human rights reporter Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) says the government of Turkmenistan forced tens of thousands of citizens to pick cotton during an unusually long harvest this year – including those from education and health-care institutions, municipal government offices, libraries, museums, meteorological agencies, cultural centres, sports organisations, and utility, manufacturing, construction, telecommunications, and fishing companies.

Workers were rallied onto hundreds of buses departed from city centres across the country, leading to disruptions to services such as education and health care.

ATN says more public-sector workers were mobilised this year because freezing weather in key cotton-growing districts meant there were fewer volunteers to pick cotton; and that university students were threatened with expulsion if they didn't take part.

School have also been delayed since September, it says, with teachers given the option of working in the harvest, paying a bribe, or losing their jobs.

The human rights reporter also claims that in the Boldumasaz district of Dashoguz region, children have been picking cotton to help their parents to meet quotas.

The President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, has repeatedly called for faster progress towards this year's national cotton production target, with more people mobilised in response.

This year's harvest has been hit by floods, drought and broken irrigation systems, making it impossible for farmers to fulfil their cotton quotas. Many are now concerned they may lose the lease to farm the land. 

Separately, monitoring of workers during the 2015 cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has offered a mixed assessment, with no systematic use of child labour found but "serious concerns" raised over the risk of forced labour.

Mixed feedback on cotton harvest labour in Uzbekistan