At least 300,000 children are now being used to fight armed conflicts in more than 20 Third World countries including South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of these soldiers are boys and girls between 15 and 18 years old but some are as young as 9. Child advocates say the longer a conflict lasts, the greater chance children will be recruited or forced to fight in it. Children are used as soldiers because they are cheap, expendable and easy to influence. Child soldiers carry supplies and are used as spies and sentries in addition to laying mines and fighting. Female child soldiers are often sexually abused. Many children are abducted and forced to join militias but some join because of poverty, alienation or dislike of the government. Sometimes schools, villages and farms are destroyed to remove options other than fighting for these children. In 2008, we passed the Child Soldiers Protection Act that criminalizes military forces which recruit and use children for fighting -but this legislation hasnâ€™t had much effect in Africa. Some non-government organizations that are active in this cause have had success preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. They have also succeeded in securing their demobilization and assisting their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current child soldier policy
I support efforts, including financial aid to non-government groups, to assist in reducing or eliminating the use of children as soldiers