When the word “soldier” comes to mind many people think of a strong heroic adult who is fighting for their country. Many people think of a soldier as a person who has voluntarily put their life at risk once again for their country. But many people when they hear the word “soldier” do not think of children. When people hear the words “kids or children” they often think of a young person in school who enjoys playing. People most often think of a child as a young person with few responsibilities and very little stress. But for millions of children around the world this is not the case, many of them are recruited by governments to fight in wars. They are called child soldiers.
Top 10 Facts about Child Soldiers:
- Child soldiers are children under the age of 18 who are recruited by armed groups who use children as shields, cooks, suicide bombers, fighters, spies, messengers and/or for sexual purposes.
- Some children are under the age of 10 when they are forced to serve.
- Children who are forced to serve as soldiers most likely are displaced, poor, have little access to education or live in war zones.
- Some children willingly volunteer themselves as child soldiers because they believe it will give them a form of income and/or security.
- 10 to 30 percent of kid soldiers are girls. They are used for fighting and are especially vulnerable to sexual violence they are also given to commanders as wives.
- The following countries have reported use of child soldiers since 2011: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Thailand, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and more.
- In 2007 there were between 7,000 to 10,000 child soldiers in combat although there was a government agreement in the District of Chad to demobilize the recruitment of child soldiers.
- Since there have been many technological advances in the making of war weapons they have been made real easy to use, which has contributed to the increase in child soldiers.
- Some child soldiers are forced to act violently against their families and communities to make sure they do not return home.
- Since 2001 child soldiers have been recruited in 21 armed conflicts all around the world.
Children’s childhoods and human rights are taken away once they are recruited to become child soldiers. Many of them are brainwashed to think it is okay to be serving in war zones at such a young age and often end up having psychological problems.
— Priscilla Rodarte