Pandemic Increasing Child Recruits

Poverty and unemployment caused by COVID-19 are likely making children more vulnerable to being recruited as child soldiers, Thomson Reuters Foundation reports

"More and more children will be either attracted or sometimes told by their parents to just go and join because someone's got to feed them," said the U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba. 

Data is spotty, but ~7,740 children were recruited and used as fighters in 2019, according to the UN, in at least 14 countries including DRC, South Sudan and Somalia.
Some were as young as 6 years old. 

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, noted in a Thomson Reuters Foundation commentary that the use of girls as child soldiers is a significant problem as well, in conflicts in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen—but their experiences are often overlooked.

The Foundation's report marks the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.

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