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Child Soldiers

Children as young as eight years of age are recruited in certain countries to form part of army ranks. This practice still goes on in African and Middle Eastern countries that are riddled with political instability. What can be done about this practice is a problem yet to be solved.

Countries that still use child soldiers today

Hard as it may be to believe, there are still countries today where child soldiers are used to fight in their wars. Sudan is one such country. Children in the Sudan are recruited from a young age and taught how to operate a firearm. These children are then placed in groups and sent off to fight horrific battles that involve lots of bloodshed—including that of their own. Other countries include Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Israel.

Is it against their will?

Whether or not becoming a soldier is against a child’s will is actually a question of culpability. The question must be asked, “Does the child know any better?” The fact is: soldiers who recruit and train child soldiers are adept at winning their trust first. There is a fair amount of brainwashing that takes place, by the end of which the child is convinced to take part in the army. Peer pressure also plays a significant role in this process. Children who are recruited want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Since nothing else exists in their world except war and fear, joining the army is the next obvious choice.

A barbaric practice

Those who instigate this practice should be considered war criminals for their actions. Wars are fought to protect our wives and children, not put them directly in harm’s way. The UN has recognized this as a barbaric practice and has voiced its strategies to do away with child soldiers completely. It seems however that implementing these strategies is the hardest part. It is almost impossible to interfere in all of these countries and change the mindset of the people in them.

What happens in these child soldier recruitments is a vicious circle. The same children who are recruited to fight in wars are the ones who grow up to become recruiters themselves. Barbaric initiation and intimidation is utilized to manipulate young kids into joining army ranks. If and when these wars end, hopefully this practice will vanish into non-existence and never be revived.

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