According to DoSomething.org, “in the last 15 years, the use of child soldiers has spread to almost every region of the world and every armed conflict. Though it is hardly possible to define an exact number, thousands of children soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world.”
Eight Facts About Child Soldiers
- Currently, there are between 250,000 and 300,000 children soldiers globally.
- The recruitment for children starts at the age of 10 and they are used as instruments within wars to execute individuals unreasonably.
- A child soldier is any minor, regardless of gender, under the age of 18 who is recruited by a state or non-state armed group and who is used as a fighter, messenger, spy or even for sexual purposes.
- “Children are recruited because they are more manageable, more obedient and more easily manipulated than adults. Children are also less conscious of danger, and it is harder for them to see the difference between absence and death,” according to Humanium.
- Young people are more likely to get recruited if they come from marginalized communities, are displaced from their houses, live in a combat zone and do not have access to education.
- Humanium emphasized that “children who are orphaned, unaccompanied or living in a difficult family environment, see it as a solution to their problems, and taking part in an armed group seems safer than confronting these problems. Revenge, community identity and ideology can also influence children.”
- Additionally, armed forces take minors because they are less expensive to recruit and train compared to adults.
- “Child soldiers are usually presented as victims of adults, and forced recruitment is more readily emphasized than voluntary engagement,” said Humanium.
There are some extreme cases where children volunteer to become soldiers because it is a better option to the reality they face every day. They see this as an outlet from their current situation.
– Isabella Rolz