A broad policy framework should include a comprehensive national policy and programme of action covering legislative reforms, effective systems to monitor the enforcement of decisions taken by the authorities, prevention, and rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration programmes for victims through access to basic, relevant education, economic alternatives and awareness-raising among children and families. The following are examples of key components of a strategy for action against child bondage that can be carried out in different countries and regions, taking into account the context and needs in each country or region.
At national level
1. Formulation of a national plan of action against the bonded labour system and child bondage
• preparing national reports on bonded labour systems and the nature and extent of child bondage;
• organizing a national consultation on the forms of bondage, and the best ways of detecting, releasing and rehabilitating bonded labourers, including bonded children; and
• formulating a national plan of action for the eradication of the practice and rehabilitation of the victims.
2. Strengthening legislation and enforcement procedures with reference to the scope and application of international conventions
• examining various forms of bondage relative to the existing legislation, identifying deficiencies in the coverage of legislation, reviewing the adequacy of measures in legislation for the release and rehabilitation of victims and prosecution of offenders, including the level of punishment prescribed for the offenders; and
• reviewing enforcement, including prosecution of offenders and the strength and effectiveness of the inspectorate.
3. Institutional capacity-building at national and local levels
• establishing a national focal point to serve as a stimulus and to facilitate coordination among all partners;
• forming a broad based national task force which would advise on policy and programmes on bonded labour legislation and its enforcement (particularly concerning the remission/waiver of loans and release from bondage), as well as carry out surveys to identify bonded labourers and assess their indebtedness and socio-economic status with a view to their rehabilitation; awareness campaigns; orientation of governmental and non-governmental staff; and rehabilitation schemes; and
• forming vigilance committees to assist in identifying bonded labourers, provide legal education and oversee their release and rehabilitation.
4. Direct action programmes to prevent, rehabilitate and re-integrate bonded children
These include action programmes to:
• liberate children in bonded labour in specific geographical locations;
• implement rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration programmes not only to receive the children once liberated but also to progressively guide them into a normal social life;
• set up a rehabilitation fund and the procedure for its operation;
• implement savings and credit schemes for poor families who are vulnerable to resorting to child bondage; and
• provide basic, relevant education to prevent child bondage.
5. Awareness-raising on the problem of bonded labourers and children in bondage among parents, employers, local communities, the general public and policy-makers
• collecting and assessing information on a continuing basis on children in bondage and bonded labour systems, on the law and its enforcement, and on efforts made for prevention, debt repayment and rehabilitation;
• disseminating information and sensitizing parents, the community, schoolteachers who are in a position of leadership in rural communities and all sectors of civil society; and
• organizing public hearings and debates on child bondage, for example, in Parliament, and during specific human rights and children's rights related events.
6. Measuring progress at local and national levels
• organize consultations among all key actors at local and national levels to review progress and problems and strengthen strategies for action.
At international level
• link action at the national level with the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child;
• organize an international conference on child bondage; and
• conduct international campaigns against child bondage in collaboration with other international organizations and international NGOs.