Rebel Groups only Not the whole story… Government Forces too
Rebel groups use child soldiers often to fight the government. Governments use child soldiers in armed conflict. Some countries actively recruit children as young as 7. There are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers.
Countries Where Child Soldiers Exist Today »Country Country Burma Sri Lanka Iraq Afghanistan Colombia DRC Who is Recruiting Burma’s National Army Rebel Forces Insurgent groups Taliban Militias Guerrilla Forces Government and Rebel Forces Est. Numbers 70,000 6,000 Unknown 14,000 30,000
Third Stereotype All child soldiers are abducted or forced into conflicts.
Abducted or forced conscription Not the whole story… Some children are recruited voluntarily.
Why join? Paid Promises of a better life. Revenge Prestige/ honour No other choice.
Why abduct children? Easier to brainwash Easier to coerce Torments local community Dispensable.
40% of all child soldiers are female. Life for girls particularly hard because of the shame attached to what happens to them. They often find it difficult if they do return to their communities because they are less visible they often get ignored after the conflict.
Everyone kills Not the whole story… It varies from conflict to conflict
But all of the children are likely to suffer trauma and abuse. They have to deal with malnutrition and exposure to drug taking. Violence is a part of their daily life, they are often forced to kill and will see and be forced to do horrific things.
Pros and cons Sense of belonging Status and power Livelihood A life that involves drug taking and abuse. Ostracised from family and community Exposure to violence