where do you find baby soldiers



Where to Find Baby Soldiers?

Gone are the days when joining the military was only an option for men and women who had reached legal age. Nowadays, it is becoming common for some countries to employ child soldiers, with the reference term ‘baby soldier’ being used to describe those children.

What is a Baby Soldier?

A baby soldier can be defined as a child who has been recruited as a soldier by a militia group, armed forces or non-state group. Their age can range from 6 years old up to early teens. They are not volunteering for active duty, but are instead coerced by the recruitment party through threat and/or use of force. Baby soldiers can be subject to a variety of roles, from being used as a human shield to being forced to join regular combat.

Where is the Problem Most Prevalent?

Child recruitment is most common in developing countries, in particular those in conflict. Countries such as Uganda, Congo, Iraq, Central African Republic, Burundi and Haiti have been subjects of concern due to continuation of child soldier recruitment. Fuelled by poverty and weak protection or law enforcement, children are vulnerable and often faced with no other choice.

What is Being Done to Stop It?

Fortunately, there are measures and initiatives being taken to protect children in these countries. Numerous NGOs and child rights organizations have been campaigning against child soldier recruitment, with specific programs being introduced. These include:

    • Awareness Raising: The United Nations is running public awareness campaigns around the topic of children and armed conflict, in order for both civilians and authorities to take a stand against it.


    • Protection for Children: Steps are being taken to identify, protect and support children in armed conflicts, providing them with shelter, rehabilitation and family reunification.


    • International Pressure: Member states of the UN are putting pressure on countries with ongoing recruitment of child soldiers, and are raising the issue in international meetings.


Although the issue of child soldiers still persists, the aforementioned measures are hopefully a step closer to ending baby soldier recruitment.