by Tamenech Montù
In many countries, national armies and rebel militias illegally recruit—sometimes through abduction or force—male and female children as combatants, porters, spies, domestics,
and sex slaves
- A CLOSER LOOK INTO THE CHILD SOLDIERS
Former child soldiers struggle to be treated as modern slave survivors
Though children are considered to be particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, in post-war contexts the priority of anti-trafficking programmes is directed to adult women who have experienced trafficking for sexual exploitation while the needs of child soldiers are often overlooked.
Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world or are currently detained as national security threats, often for alleged association with so-called “terrorist” or violent extremist groups. These boys and girls, some as young as 8 years old, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups. They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts. Girls may be forced into sexual slavery. Many are abducted or recruited by force, while others join out of desperation, believing that armed groups offer their best chance for making a living.