Ten steps are suggested to improve the participation of employers and their organizations in the campaign against child labour. They provide a logical framework for action, although many of the activities described can and should be carried out simultaneously.
(1) Institutional development. Designate officials in national employers' organizations and sectoral business organizations to serve as child labour focal points.
(2) Investigation: Collect detailed and reliable country-level data about the exact magnitude, nature or effects of child labour in specific sectors or industries.
(3) Awareness-raising. Conduct awareness-raising events aimed at particular sectors and the sensitization of society at large.
(4) Policy development. Develop policy recommendations on child labour to which employers' organizations and their members can subscribe.
(5) Coalition building. Form partnerships to carry out direct action in cooperation with NGOs and, where appropriate, trade unions.
(6) Prioritizing action: Based upon the information collected, select particular industries in which comprehensive programmes on the elimination of child labour can be launched. Action should be guided by a focus on the most exploitative forms.
(7) Direct support to working children: In partnership with coalition members, develop the role of employers' organizations in broad-based efforts to provide alternatives, such as apprenticeships, education, and training.
(8) Monitoring and evaluation: Establish systematic processes to work with focal points in specific industries to measure progress in progressively eliminating child labour.
(9) Compiling information on "best practice": Compile positive initiatives undertaken by local enterprises and business organizations.
(10) Communications policy: Develop a systematic approach to publicizing positive action taken by employers (e.g. newsletters, media campaigns, public merit awards).
Employers and their organizations, can take proactive and innovative steps to respond to the challenge which child labour presents. While concern about the use of child labour on the part of importers in industrialized countries is valid in view of mounting consumer pressure, instant dismissal of children may go against the "best interests" of the child if no alternatives are in place. This has been a key problem with initiatives focusing solely on the export sector, which is only a small part of the worldwide problem. Children should be removed from the workplace in a planned and phased manner to prevent them from simply being thrown unaided into a situation far worse than that which they left. Governments, employers' and workers' organizations, and other concerned stakeholders are beginning to work together towards responsible ways of transferring children from work into education, training and other activities which promote their welfare and development.