An estimated 250,000 children are forced to fight in wars around the world — some as young as 9. Children conscripted into military service are used as:
In the past decade, more than 2 million children have been killed in conflict situations. An estimated 6 million children have been seriously injured or permanently disabled. (1)Back to top
Child soldiers are used in national armies and in paramilitary and rebel groups all over the world, but predominately in Asia (including the Middle East) and in Africa. In 2008, children were found in 57 non-state groups in 24 countries. (2) In 2011, six countries use children in their national armies — Myanmar, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. (3)Back to top
Children most likely to be forced into military service include those who are:
The driving factors for forced child soldier conscription include:
The U.S. government currently provides military assistance to five of the six governments implicated in child soldier usage:
U.S. military assistance to these countries ranges from small amounts of funding for military training to hundreds of millions in weapons, training, and military financing.
In 2008, Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced the Child Soldier Prevention Act — a bill to curtail U.S. military assistance to governments that fail to take steps to demobilize and stop recruiting children into the armed forces or government-supported militias. Under this bill, countries that take steps to demobilize child soldiers are eligible for certain forms of assistance to help professionalize their forces and ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used to finance the exploitation of children in armed conflict.
The Child Soldier Prevention Act was signed into law in 2009 because concerned citizens like you spoke out.
However, through a loophole in the law, the current administration has failed to implement the law and is giving violating countries a free pass.Back to top