Research Paper: Child Soldiers

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[. . .] This way children are the first target to any enemy and are used as frontline targets becoming the first to give and receive the attack. In most of the cases as it is expected kids die in crossfire, if in the event they survive the minefields and are able to dodge away from the bullet then they become murderers. Everything that makes them a child who has all the right to his/her childhood is taken away from them, which is something that can never come back. However this is not just a case of the present or the close past, children were hired as soldiers for fighting in the American civil war and were also recruited by the American troops during WWII against Vietnam. It is hard to believe that these recruiters and the people, who run these monstrous organizations, find it so easy to steal the safety and security of young mind which should be untouched by any form of violence. Children should nothing less than just children, because once their innocence is gone, then it's not going to come back.

More often than not these children are recruited by force which is not uncommon at all. Armed soldiers, kidnap these children as they maybe passing through a village. Some groups also buy orphans hence assuring their loyalty. In this ordeal, girls are not spared at all in extremely backward regions like Uganda and Ethiopia, every third soldier was found to be a girl. Girls have fought in Kosovo for the Kosovo Liberation Army and in Turkey for the Kurdistan Workers Party (Bentham. 2003)


Child soldiers, go through man traumas from their forced or given recruitment to wars and fights. Below we will not only discuss the physical impacts this injustice has on the young soldiers but also the societal impacts that they suffer from.

Physical Impacts: Child soldiers are recruited for many different reasons; one of the most important reasons is during a battle, when there is a shortage of trained adults to take cover. As a result the young children get shocked due to lack of training and having being caught completely off guard. Considering the inexperience these kids get injured badly from permanent scars to lacerations to serious injuries like loss of limbs from explosion (Reid. 1998).

Malnutrition and Disease: astonishingly, it is Malnutrition and various diseases that are caused by it, that end up killing the young soldiers rather than bullets and bombs. Surprisingly, it is malnutrition and disease that takes far more children than any bullets or bombs. In Uganda, trained soldiers while roaming through the villages, took everything and anything they wanted from the villagers, irrespective of the fact whether it was food, household supplies to even children. In Uganda there is a never ending shortage of food and basic resources and mostly people starve to death (Reid. 1998). The epidemic spread of diseases is also a very common factor in child soldiering nations. In the Somalian civil war, measles took the lives of 70% of the children in that area. The children in these areas are so undernourished that they can die from a small problem such a diarrhea. In these areas the young boys and girls who are either kidnapped or recruited willingly in the armies are raped, subjected to sexual harassment and prostitution. This leads to an active spread of STD's such as HIV, AIDS. In addition, blood transfusion services with limited technology for blood testing only help to spread these diseases (Dybdahl. 2001).

Psychological Impacts

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: the most prominent psychological impact on child soldiers in post traumatic disorder. The young soldiers suffering from such a disorder complain of lack of sleep and terrible nightmares. Those affected from PSTD suffer from flashbacks of their traumatic time including lack of sleep and nightmares (Baker.1999).

Adjustment Disorder: Adjustment disorder is another commonly observed issue in child soldiers, this may occur due to the sudden change from a normal peaceful life to an all of a sudden violent and loud one (Caffo & Belaise. 2003). This problem causes very tricky situations, if a child is removed from the army that too is harmful for him because he will not be able to keep up with the sudden changes. This disorder consists of two phases, one is when the child is stripped from his childhood and is forced to become a part of the army, but this is not entirely the problem, in the second phase the child is forced to reconnect with the society and try to become a child again. The situation does not matter; adjustment will always be an issue for a child, making it hard for him to adjust to new environments.

Personality Disorder: personality disorder is found as a result of the constant exposure of the child to violence. Hence eventually such children lose their ability to empathize, due to constant participation in violent, aggressive or manipulative routines. Acting normal and peaceful for them is an unnatural and alien action.

Societal Impact: The act of forcing children to recruit in the military services has a huge impact on the society. In countries where this threat is common, people cannot live their lives normally because of this new threat. In addition to this the youth is the future of the world, the participation of children in these activities is destroying that future. The children who survive to lead their countries are familiar with only violence; hence the never ending cycle will only repeat itself (Baker.1999).


Child Soldiers: 300,000 children currently are serving as child soldiers ranging from ages 15 and 18, also between 7 and 8. 20% of these children are only serving as sex slaves and prostitutes.300,000

Education: 72 Million children in the child soldiering nations do not receive any form of education after primary school level.

Foster Care: Only 5000, among these children have the good luck to end up in foster homes

Gender: 30% percent in almost every army throughout the world have young girls being recruited. 55% are young boys starting from the age of 7.

Health: 7.5% among th4e children at some point in their lives get affected by HIV / AIDS

148 million children in such countries are malnourished.

2 million have HIV / AIDS

8.8 million Do not live to see their 16th birthday. (Baker.1999).

What Can Be Done?

The most effective way to put a stop to child soldiers is to resolve the conflicts they are fighting for. "Child soldiers will be used by [warring] parties for as long as the war continues. There must be a political solution," says the International Crisis Group's Senior Adviser John Prendergast. Beyond this limit there are a few doable strategies, however the efforts to ban the use to weapons by children under the age of 16 were made a few years ago but to no avails. Researchers suggest that this would end the situation because if armies do not have the import of guns and other weapons for their use, there is a possibility that they will either find another way or make their own weapons. Governments have been under immense pressure for allowing children to be recruited in their armies hence as of the now they rarely include children in their recruitments. However, government forces sometimes do work in collaboration with militant, who in turn do end up enlisting their children (Mckirk. 2001)

For instance, in Afghanistan the militants who work the American government have a record of enlisting their children to help in spying. Preventing the use of children in military operations like always will be a true challenge. Considering these groups rarely respond to law enforcements and the norms of society. One of the most common approaches in this situation is using the complete force of law such as persecution, but then the question arises how it is possible to persecute people in the number of millions? The International Criminal Court (ICC) recently issued arrest warrants for leaders of the LRA in Uganda. However, the ICC does not have any police force to arrange the arrest for these individuals, who are still at large. The Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled in 2004 that recruiting child soldiers is a war crime and has begun prosecutions. Though this is taking place after the fact, it may set a precedent for future recruiters of child soldiers (Al Arjani, Thabet, & Vostanis. 2008).


As we focus on our future, the most troubling situation is that the reasons and forces due to which such a rise in this injustice has been seen, looks like they are here to stay hence the sign of no immediate action can be seen. The order of these nations remains in a state of constant fluctuation, with bloody wars and years old conflicts, mass poverty, diseases, and famine. This results in a generation of estranged and isolated children who are growing up with education or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Child Soldiers.  (2011, April 20).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Child Soldiers."  20 April 2011.  Web.  26 May 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Child Soldiers."  April 20, 2011.  Accessed May 26, 2019.