Children At War: Reasons Children Become Soldier

1304 words - 5 pages

War. Sometimes considered a necessary evil but should it really cost the lives of thousand of innocent children? Currently there is estimated to be 300,000 children fighting in wars in Africa, Sudan, Afghanistan, and in countless other countries. Usually ranging from 14 to 18 children get recruited or kidnapped but some are pulled in as young as 11. A child soldier is defined as “any child—boy or girl—under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity”(Kaplan). Although child soldiers have been used to aid in combat, in cases such as Hitler’s youth group or squires training to be knights in the 15th century, there is a greater concern for them being used now, considering that they are thrown to front lines instead of being prepared at a young ages to fight when they are more mature. War in the modern day is far more advanced and the military leaders are giving children deadlier weapons and subjecting them to gruesome violence all to save money and have more men fighting under them . Child soldiers are used in war for many jobs and because their naive tendencies, easy manipulation, and that they are cheap and plentiful.
Child soldiers can be used for many jobs. They aren’t given much training but their main focus is being sent to the front lines. “They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts”(child soldiers). Children also get to carry heavy loads of ammunition and injured soldiers or be cooks and guards in a time of peace. They are useful since they “can fight in the army for over 20 years before they are released”(11 reasons children become soldiers) and they create a lot of chaos on a battlefield. Sadly girls get thrown into the violence too, perhaps in a more heinous way. In addition to being soldiers and fighting they are also used as sex slaves and mistresses for the army leaders. The risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies is enormous. There have been stories of girls getting impregnated and having to carry their child strapped to their back into war. The children are always indoctrinated then initiated. “Often they undergo a brutal initiation and have to kill or maim those who have attempted to flee”(children of conflict).
Many child soldiers are abducted of forced to recruit. “Forced recruitment, where many children were abducted and beaten into submission, was for a long time the archetype of child soldiering”(root causes of child recruitment). Most often children are kidnapped after groups like the RUF (Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone) attack a village but not all children are forced, some volunteer. A lot of the time, especially in Africa and Uganda, children seek out the military since it ensures meals and shelter. “In Myanmar, parents volunteer their children for the rebel Karen army because the guerrillas provide clothes and two square meals...

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