Brief Description about Child Labour Elimination Program (CLEP)
In 1997, when the Soccer Industry of Pakistan came under overwhelming pressure of child labour imputation from west, SCCI decided to address the problem with the collaboration of ILO, UNICEF and FIFA. A comprehensive program of monitoring was initiated called CLEP. The program turned out to be a great success acclaiming worldwide recognition. ILO and other International bodies ran this monitoring system for about five years. At last, ILO phased out of the program.
In order to keep market in hand, continuation of program and establishment of Independent Monitoring Association was considered necessary. So, Independent Monitoring Association for Child Labor (IMAC) was established. There was a need of financial assistance to run its affairs. Therefore, SCCI requested the government to provide 60% funds from EDF. Rest of funds were collected from Soccer Ball Manufacturers participating in the CLEP to meet the total expenses.
The program is still working and dependent on the Government funding (EDF) and contribution of Soccer manufacturers participating in the Program. The CLEP has been instrumental in safeguarding the industry against the social pressures exerted by the international media specially the allegations of child labour. The presence of a credible work place monitoring Programme in Sialkot provides an assurance to international brands/buyers for a child labour free production of inflatable balls in Sialkot. FIFA does not allow the production of FIFA quality/FIFA Licensed balls unless a manufacturer is a member of the Programme. The Programme has also assisted the industry to introduce the production of machine stitched as well as thermo-bonded and other mechanized balls which resulted in a great achievement wherein Pakistan has been given the production of balls (Brazuca Ball) played in 2014 World Cup and (Adidas Telstar 18 Ball) Played in 2018 world cup matches. It has happened after a time period of 12 years.
The survival of this industry, once in serious doubt, depends on kind favour and financial support of the Government through its funding from EDF for the Child Labour Elimination Programme.
The Programme also has a trickle down impact on the other export industries and trades in Sialkot wherein the buyers have been demanding a child labour free production.