European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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Recruiting Children for Armed Conflict

Document number
Recruiting Children for Armed Conflict
Jens Christopher Andvig and Scott Gates
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Document type(s)
Violence, Human rights violation, Crime against humanity, War crime, Armed conflict, Post-conflict situation, Terrorism,
What are the precipitant causes of child soldiering? Why would a military organization recruit a child as a soldier? In other words, why employ individuals before their technical and decision-making capabilities are fully developed and before their preferences are fixed? And, why are there so many children participating in some military organizations and few or none in others? Moreover, why do some children voluntarily join while other children are forced to join such organizations in situations of conflict? Data on child recruitment in sub-Saharan Africa collected by Reich & Achvarina (2006) and case study analyses from around the world demonstrate that the number of child soldiers varies considerably from one group to another. These works also suggest that the welfare of the children employed by these violent groups varies across organizations. In this paper we focus on this variance and examine the patterns of recruitment across different kinds of violent organizations.
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