SEATTLE — Children are the quickest learners, filled with energy, life and ability. But not every country offers opportunities like public schools or even stable homes. Even though children are quick they are impressionable. Some children are impressed upon negatively, some are coerced into the military with the hope of food, shelter or stability. These are the children that become child soldiers, forced to fight in wars that they may not understand.
Children may even find themselves volunteering to become child soldiers. Even if the children know what happens to child soldiers, sometimes they feel societal pressure to join. If their community fights for a certain purpose, there is a possibility that everyone will be convinced to join the cause. According to dosomething.org, child soldiers may be “under the impression that volunteering will provide a form of income, food, or security, and [they]willingly join the group.”
Some children are displaced from their homes, have been separated from their families or cannot take care of themselves alone and therefore believe that the only way to survive is to join a military that will provide for them. Children in the ranks are often forced to perform atrocious acts against humanity. Not only that but they are abused, injured and often killed during fights.
Child soldiers are younger and often considered to be not as important as higher ranked officers. Because of this, they are forced to do the more dangerous jobs like laying mines or explosives, as well as fighting with weapons. Girl soldiers are particularly at risk of rape and sexual abuse along with being involved in combat.
According to the CNN World, the child soldiers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are being brainwashed. They are lured or kidnapped from their homes and then they are trained to fight and to kill mercilessly. “The Sunni extremists of ISIS appear to be brainwashing an entire generation to create an army of impressionable young soldiers.” Child soldiers are defined as any children under the age of 18 who are recruited by a state or non-state armed group, however, some children are as young as 10 when they begin service.
Recruitment into the atrocities of war often affects every aspect of a child’s development. Children experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), not to mention any injuries they might accrue that did not receive medical attention, deprivation of food and shelter and lack of education.
The child soldiers are often forced out of their homes to join a negative cause, fight and sometimes die for the people they thought were going to offer them security but only provided danger. This is what happens to child soldiers for the benefit of whatever regime is intending to show its power. They are unwitting participants in someone else’s fight.
– Karyn Adams