Child Soldiers Reloaded

It is no secret that I have been a verbal critic of private armies…..those for profit war mongers like Blackwater or Xe or whatever this pack of barbarians want to call themselves this week.

The sad part of any war is when the children are turned into soldiers…it is big in Africa….but in case you are ignorant on what entails a child soldier…I can help…..

  1. Child soldiers are any children under the age of 18 who are recruited by a state or non-state armed group and used as fighters, cooks, suicide bombers, human shields, messengers, spies, or for sexual purposes.
  2. In the last 15 years, the use of child soldiers has spread to almost every region of the world and every armed conflict. Though an exact number is impossible to define, thousands of child soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world.
  3. Some children are under the age of 10 when they are forced to serve.
  4. Two-thirds of states confirm that enrollment of soldiers under the age of 18 should be banned to prohibit forced child soldiers, as well as 16- and 17-year-old armed force volunteers.
  5. Children who are poor, displaced from their families, have limited access to education, or live in a combat zone are more likely to be forcibly recruited.

Children who are not forced to be soldiers volunteer themselves because they feel societal pressure and are under the impression that volunteering will provide a form of income, food, or security, and willingly join the group.

In the last 2 years, 20 states have been reported to have child soldiers in government, government-affiliated, and non-state armed groups. Additionally, 40 states still have minimum age recruitment requirements under 18 years.

Girls make up an estimated 10 to 30 percent of child soldiers used for fighting and other purposes. They are especially vulnerable when it comes to sexual violence.

A few of the countries who have reported use of child soldiers since 2011 are Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Thailand, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Despite a government agreement in the District of Chad to demobilize the recruitment of child soldiers, there were between 7,000 and 10,000 children under 18 serving in combat and fulfilling other purposes in 2007.

I revisit this subject because these private armies are recruiting former child soldiers to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria….

How private companies recruit former child soldiers for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

From opportunistic guns for hire on the fringe of domestic conflicts to a global force operating within a multibillion-dollar industry – the private military sector seems to be flourishing.

As armies and war increasingly become ‘outsourced’, private military companies have taken on a wider increasing range of responsibilities, from security and intelligence analysis to training and combat roles.

“The private military industry is a part of how the countries fight wars today … The US government doesn’t track the number of contractors used in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. We know it’s a lot, we don’t know exactly how many,” says Sean McFate, a professor at Georgetown University who used to work for a private military company.

Source: Child Soldiers Reloaded: The Privatisation of War | Sierra Leone | Al Jazeera

When Obama announced that the US would be pulling its troops out of Iraq…something had to be done to keep the fight going…..

…..when the US decided to end its military mission in Iraq, budgets decreased and the private military industry had to start offering different types of deals. As a result, they started to hire cheaper soldiers, many of them from the developing world.

Once again these former child soldiers were exploited when they were young and now they are being so again….this time by the for profit war machine.

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