Today, there are approximately 300,000 child soldiers fighting in armed conflict.
◦ Child soldiers are under the age of 18.
◦ Children are used as soldiers because they are easily manipulated and are too young to understand their actions.
◦ Child soldiers use AK-47s, M-16s and grenades because they are easy to use. Orphans and refugees sometimes see their only hope for survival is by joining a militia.
◦ Child soldiers are used to clear landmines and as human shields.
◦ Child soldiers are often given drugs to help them cope with their emotions making it easier for them to kill.
◦ Girl soldiers are often used as domestic sex slaves.
◦ Child soldiers carry supplies and act as messengers, cooks and lookouts.
◦ Child soldiers are sometimes forced to commit atrocities against their own families and villages.
◦ Many child soldiers are not welcome back home after a conflict ends because of cultural superstition.
◦ Children are the victims of conflict after witnessing or participating in murder and rape, becoming disabled, homeless or psychologically traumatized.