Surveys of employers (establishments or enterprises)
A survey of establishments or enterprises to study child labour can cover only a small part of all child workers, i.e. only those children who are employed for wages. According to ILO-IPEC experimental surveys carried out in Ghana, India, Indonesia and Senegal, the proportion of employed children among total child workers was found to be around 10 per cent. Thus, a survey of employers or establishments can give statistical information about only a small segment of child workers to supplement the results obtained through the household approach. However, these child workers might form the most vulnerable section of all working children; some of them may be exposed to danger, maltreatment by employers, underpayment and environmentally bad working conditions. Such facts may not, however, be revealed through the survey of establishments as most employers will not divulge such information. (This information can be more readily obtained from the child employees themselves who are covered by the household survey.) Nevertheless, a survey of establishments employing child labour may be undertaken as a supplementary effort to find out more about the employers who have recourse to it.
Practical difficulties and operational procedures
The experimental studies revealed many practical difficulties in conducting the survey of establishments. The most important was the difficulty in identifying the establishments that employ child labour. Most developing countries do not have an updated or exhaustive national list or directory of employers. The task of preparing such a list and identifying those employing children in the ultimate areal unit is time-consuming and requires considerable resources, both human and financial. Also, many establishment owners try to hide the fact that they actually engage children, and even if they admit to it, they may provide only partial information. The alternative is to survey the establishments which employ the children belonging to the sample households.
In spite of the problems that may arise, a survey of employers should be attempted. The following alternative operational procedures, which can be modified according to national requirements and circumstances, may be considered:
The main difficulty in applying the above operational procedures is the preparation of a proper framework. An alternative could be to list all the enterprises along with the listing of households in the selected areal units, and elicit information as to whether or not they employ child labour. All the enterprises/establishments (employing any child labour) in each geographical unit in the sample for the household survey can be taken up. Such a scheme might also permit estimates of total child workers employed in enterprises. But it may call for a large number of ultimate areal units in the sample to obtain an adequate number of sample enterprises for the survey. Therefore, the strategy may be formulated according to the national circumstances of a country.
The three possible strategies are:
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