IMAC Procedures for Work Place Monitoring in Soccer Ball Industry


The work place monitoring system for soccer industry consists of Internal Monitoring and External Monitoring. Manufacturers engaged in production and assembly of soccer balls or other hand-stitched balls in Sialkot are invited to voluntarily join the programme on prevention and monitoring. 


Internal Monitoring:

At the time of voluntarily joining the programme , the respective manufacturer deposits a joining fee to the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) along with some basic information of their company such as names of the executives, location of the factory, mailing address, tel./fax/email addresses, production capacity, number of production units/stitching centres and number of people working in each production units/stitching centres. This information is provided on a specific format developed by the IMAC and supplied to the SCCI. On another format the respective manufacturer provides detailed information about their stitching centres, which are mostly located in villages. This information includes the name of the contractor/sub-contractor/manager, exact location of the stitching centre, and the number of people working therein. This is known as Internal Monitoring Information. First time, this information is provided through the SCCI.  On receiving this information from the SCCI, the name of the respective company/manufacturer is entered into the IMAC’s provisional database, and the manufacturer/company is issued with an individual identification three digit code. The respective manufacturer is required to print this code on a specific panel of each ball stitched at his/her stitching centre. A newly joined manufacturer is kept on a waiting/provisional members’  list until, roughly, two monitoring visits of his/her stitching centres are undertaken. After being satisfied of the accuracy of the initial Internal Monitoring Information, the name of the manufacturer is transferred to the main database. Once the application of a manufacturer to join the programme is accepted by the SCCI,  he/she has also to sign an undertaking.  This undertaking enunciates the obligation of a manufacturer  being a partner to the programme.


After supplying the initial information, the respective manufacturer, later on, deals directly with the IMAC Office, since he/she is required to keep the information updated with IMAC in its computerized database. According to the demand of production, the manufactures keep on opening, closing and re-opening their stitching centres and they are required to keep the IMAC informed of their such activities.


After the introduction of this programme, the participating manufacturers are required to provide updated information on their stitching activities to IMAC regularly. The manufacturers are aware that their activities would be monitored by IMAC, therefore, they are required to appoint/designate internal monitoring managers to carry out internal monitoring to make sure that their contractors/sub-contractors do not employ child labour.


External Monitoring:

External Monitoring takes the shape of independent third party monitoring, which a team of IMAC monitors undertakes. For the purpose IMAC has a team of 12 monitors with a gender balance. Male monitors are given motorbikes whereas female monitors use vehicles. In the field usually each team consists of two monitors.


In order to carry out the monitoring work in a systematic and transparent fashion, the Sialkot district has been divided into seven zones and each zone is sub-divided into various clusters. At present there are 39 clusters.  The clusters are further sub-divided into proximities. For keeping the transparency intact and making each visit a surprise, every morning stitching centres to be visited are selected on random basis through a computer programme. The monitoring teams are assigned stitching centres for monitoring as given by the computer. They are given the lists every morning just before they leave for the field. The teams visit these centres and verify the internal monitoring information provided by the respective manufacture for those particular stitching centres.


Monitorable stitching centres: Before the introduction of the programme most of the soccer ball stitching was taking place within the houses in the rural villages. Under the programme, the participating manufacturers  are required to undertake stitching activities at conspicuous places that could be easily monitored. These places, in this programme, are termed as “stitching centers”.  For setting up such a stitching centre, the basic criteria agreed with the SCCI is that wherever minimum of 5 stitchers male or female or both could sit together and the respective manufacture place a small sign board outside shall be treated as a centre.


In order to estimate  the production of a participating manufacturer, the formula worked out with SCCI is that on the average one adult male or female stitcher could stitch around 3.5 balls per day. This criterion is used throughout to estimate the production from a given centre in order to make sure that the participating manufacturer is getting all of his/her stitched at monitorable stitching centres.


Accordingly, the participating manufacturers set up their centres of different types and sizes. Some large size manufacturers have invested their own money and constructed their own big centres accommodating a range 300 to more than 1000 stitchers. Most of these centres are for male stitchers. However, a good number of centres have been made exclusively for female stitchers. Nevertheless, due to social and cultural reasons majority of the female stitchers are unable to leave their homes for work at regular centres. Therefore, in order to provide work opportunities to such women, a house wherein a minimum of three women could sit together for stitching and the respective manufacturer provides information of such arrangements to IMAC, these are accepted as monitorable stitching centres. In order to avoid any possibility of child labour involvement at such home-based stitching centres,  a major condition for establishing such centers is that all children of the house wherein such center has been established must be going to school.


In order to detect any leakage of raw material for stitching purposes from monitorable centres to houses, the individual identification codes printed inside the balls are used as a tool. This helps, on the one hand to detect any leakage from stitching centres to homes, and to check the counterfeiting, on the other.


 Area-based monitoring: In order to identify any un-registered work of the participating manufacturers, IMAC monitors cover whole of the village where they go to monitor a registered stitching centre. In addition, they also visit those villages where there is no registered stitching centre. The idea is to cover geographically whole of the Sialkot district basically to know two things: one, to get information of those stitching activities which are not yet in the monitoring net, and two, to identify any such activity which the participating manufacturers may be hiding from IMAC. In this way, any possibility of involving child labour by anybody in any stitching activity is completely covered.