Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

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Child Soldiers

 

*** FEATURED ARTICLES ***

DRC

From schoolboy to soldier

Hamilton Wende, BBC News, Ituri Province DRC, 20 September, 2003

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3123794.stm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

I met Manja just after he had walked in alone out of the rain. He carried nothing with him but a sleeveless nylon jacket and his memories.

"I heard that there were other boys without parents who were living here," Manja says in the high-pitched voice of a 12-year-old.   "I decided to leave the militia and join them. I left my gun there. I told them I was suffering, but they said I had to stay, so I went away secretly."   He walked for two days to reach the safety of this centre.   "I left in the evening, just before sunset. I came here all the way on foot, but sometimes other civilians gave me a lift on a bicycle."

"I was farming," Manja told us. "One day I went away to the market. There was fighting in my village that day, and everybody scattered. When I came home there was no-one, everybody was gone."   He joined a group of people heading south, fleeing from their Lendu attackers.   He found himself utterly alone, without anyone willing, or able, to help him.   "I don't know where my father and mother are," he said. "I had nothing to eat. I joined the gunmen to get food.

 

 

Eritrea

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Eritrea

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, 2004

www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4988065f2d.html

[accessed 14 August 2012]

CHILD RECRUITMENT AND DEPLOYMENT - In 2001 over 2,000 students were detained when they demanded reform of a mandatory summer work program. Two students had reportedly died from the harsh conditions on the program. In August 2003 over 200 students on the program were allegedly beaten for possessing bibles, and 57 of them detained in scorching conditions inside metal shipping containers without adequate food or medical care. Six students were reportedly still held in solitary confinement in underground cells in November 2003.

Two former child soldiers who fled Eritrea in 2002 said that they had been conscripted at the age of 15, that about 30 per cent of recruits at the Sawa camp were under 18, and that those fleeing military service faced torture, arbitrary detention and forced labour. Asylum-seekers forcibly returned from Malta in October 2002 were alleged to have been tortured and detained in secret on their arrival in Eritrea. At least one was reportedly shot dead.

 

 

Honduras

Focus on Children - Child Soldiers

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, International Child Labor Program, Sept 2002

www.unicef.org/graca/kidsoldi.htm

[accessed 9 September 2014]

"At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry….Later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and the fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew?…There is a great pain in my being when I recall all these things….In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights." - From a Honduras case study, cited in United Nations, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children: Special Concerns, 1998.

 

 

Liberia

Child Soldiers of Liberia

Liberian Educational Achievement Foundation LEAF

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The people of Liberia were harassed and intimidated by the different factions. Civilians were repeatedly robbed and murdered. During the seven year war, villages and towns continually changed hands, and each time a new faction moved in, they would plunder, torture and commit atrocities.  Many children were forced to join one of the warlords. Their parents, siblings or other villagers would be tortured until they agreed to join.

 

 

Sierra Leone

Boy soldier 'recruited' at the age of 6

The Times, March 30, 2004

www.essex.ac.uk/armedcon/story_id/000179.html

[accessed 25 April 2012]

Kabba Williams is thought to have been Sierra Leone’s youngest child soldier. He was one of about 10,000 children forced to fight in the 11-year conflict by rebel or army troops and spent almost his entire childhood in their hands

One day in particular is etched on his memory. At the age of 12 he was given a group of captives to kill. “I had the nickname ‘Hungry Lion’. I was given a bayonet. They were tied up, six of them. I stabbed them repeatedly with the knife.”

 

 

Uganda

Child, slave, soldier

Testimony provided by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, New Internationalist 337, August 2001

www.newint.org/features/2001/08/05/soldier/

[accessed 2 January 2011]

HERE IS THE TESTIMONY OF ONE UGANDAN CHILD SOLDIER - I heard later that two boys from my home were captured and beaten because I had escaped. One of the boys was stabbed in the hand and asked to bring the rebels to my parents’ home. They beat my mother and brother with clubs and axes until they died. They threatened that they’ll kill more people if I don’t come back. This was told me by a boy who lived near my home. He told me it was my fault my mother and brother had been killed.’

 

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

Afghanistan

2,000 former Afghan child soldiers to be demobilized and rehabilitated

UNICEF Press Centre, Kabul, 8 February 2004

www.unicef.org/media/media_19165.html

[accessed 18 January 2011]

UNICEF estimates that there a total of 8,000 former child soldiers in Afghanistan, many of whom have already left the fighting forces informally over the past year. All are in urgent need of assistance to fully reintegrate to civilian life, especially in the area of education and sustainable income-generation.

 

 

Angola

Children as Weapons of War

Jo Becker, Human Rights Watch World Report 2004

www.hrw.org/wr2k4/11.htm

[accessed 19 January 2011]

TRANSITIONING CHILDREN OUT OF WAR - In Angola, a peace agreement was reached in April of 2002, but child soldiers were excluded from formal demobilization programs and, at this writing, no special rehabilitation services had been set up for an estimated 7,000-11,000 children who served with UNITA or government forces.

 

 

Burundi

Child Soldier Use 2003 - A Briefing for the 4th UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, January 2004

www.hrw.org/reports/2004/childsoldiers0104/4.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

GOVERNMENT FORCES - The government of Burundi recognized the existence of child soldiers within its ranks and made international commitments to stop recruitment and promote demobilization. Child soldiers continued to be used by the Burundian armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

NON-STATE ARMED GROUPS - Child recruitment by armed opposition groups escalated during the year because of increased instability brought about by the change in government.

The main Hutu-dominated armed political group, the CNDD-FDD (Nkurunziza faction), which has rear bases in eastern DRC, reportedly continued to recruit and abduct children, including from schools and from refugee camps in neighbouring Tanzania. Children as young as eight were recruited, sometimes forcibly.

 

 

Chad

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 1999

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/chad1999.html

[accessed 28 January 2011]

[35] While taking note of the existing awareness and political will regarding the problems caused by the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Committee remains seriously concerned about the lack of resources available to support the rehabilitation and social reintegration of demobilized child soldiers. The Committee is particularly concerned about the situation of traumatized or permanently disabled former child soldiers and their lack of access to compensation or other support services. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the enforcement of its legislation banning the recruitment of children under 18 years. It also encourages the redoubling of efforts to allocate the necessary resources, if necessary with international assistance, to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of former child soldiers, and in particular to provide compensation and support services to traumatized or permanently disabled former child soldiers

 

 

Colombia

Colombia This Week -- November 22, 2004

Colombia This Week is a news summary produced and distributed by ABColombia Group. Sources include daily Colombian, US, European and Latin American newspapers, and reports from non-governmental organisations and the UN System

colhrnet.igc.org/newitems/nov04/abccolwk.n22.htm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[scroll down]

THURS 18- 14,000 CHILDREN IN COLOMBIAN ARMED GROUPS; COLOMBIA'S ROLE IN PLAN PUEBLA-PANAMA - UK-based NGOs Save the Children and Amnesty International report that more than 14,000 child soldiers are fighting in the Colombian conflict, denouncing that the illegal armed groups (FARC, ELN and AUC) are systemically recruiting children under 15 years old from indigenous and rural communities, putting their lives at extreme risk and sending them to the front line of battle.

 

DRC

From schoolboy to soldier

Hamilton Wende, BBC News, Ituri Province DRC, 20 September, 2003

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3123794.stm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

I met Manja just after he had walked in alone out of the rain. He carried nothing with him but a sleeveless nylon jacket and his memories.

"I heard that there were other boys without parents who were living here," Manja says in the high-pitched voice of a 12-year-old.   "I decided to leave the militia and join them. I left my gun there. I told them I was suffering, but they said I had to stay, so I went away secretly."   He walked for two days to reach the safety of this centre.   "I left in the evening, just before sunset. I came here all the way on foot, but sometimes other civilians gave me a lift on a bicycle."

"I was farming," Manja told us. "One day I went away to the market. There was fighting in my village that day, and everybody scattered. When I came home there was no-one, everybody was gone."   He joined a group of people heading south, fleeing from their Lendu attackers.   He found himself utterly alone, without anyone willing, or able, to help him.   "I don't know where my father and mother are," he said. "I had nothing to eat. I joined the gunmen to get food.

 

 

DRC

Sham demobilisation hides rise in Congo's child armies

Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent, The Guardian, 9 September 2003 -- Accounts collated by Amnesty International

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/sep/09/congo.rorycarroll

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have stepped up their recruitment of child soldiers in expectation of the civil war continuing despite the peace accord, Amnesty International says.  Boys and girls as young as eight are being mobilised in their thousands to murder and plunder -undermining the hope that after five years the conflict is winding down, its report, Children at War, says.

 

 

DRC

The Use of Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Human Rights Watch

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo has used child soldiers to support his military since 1996. As the rebel leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL), he recruited thousands of young child soldiers, known as "Kadogo," or "the little ones," to support his military campaign against the Mobutu government. Despite pledges from the Congolese government to demobilize children from the FAC since the end of the 1996-1997 war and the establishment of several fledgling demobilization programs, the Kabila government has continued to recruit children as young as seven years old for military service. While no reliable statistics were available regarding the number of child soldiers, the total number is likely to be at least several thousand.

 

 

Eritrea

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Eritrea

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, 2004

www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4988065f2d.html

[accessed 14 August 2012]

CHILD RECRUITMENT AND DEPLOYMENT - In 2001 over 2,000 students were detained when they demanded reform of a mandatory summer work program. Two students had reportedly died from the harsh conditions on the program. In August 2003 over 200 students on the program were allegedly beaten for possessing bibles, and 57 of them detained in scorching conditions inside metal shipping containers without adequate food or medical care. Six students were reportedly still held in solitary confinement in underground cells in November 2003.

Two former child soldiers who fled Eritrea in 2002 said that they had been conscripted at the age of 15, that about 30 per cent of recruits at the Sawa camp were under 18, and that those fleeing military service faced torture, arbitrary detention and forced labour. Asylum-seekers forcibly returned from Malta in October 2002 were alleged to have been tortured and detained in secret on their arrival in Eritrea. At least one was reportedly shot dead.

 

 

Guinea

Guinea: A Window On West Africa’s War-Weary Children

UNICEF Press Centre, Conakry/Geneva, 4 November 2003

www.unicef.org/media/media_15421.html

[accessed 8 February 2011]

UNICEF today said that reports from border monitors and NGOs reveal that Guinea is becoming a burgeoning refuge for thousands of children fleeing West Africa’s wars. Children fleeing recruitment, violence, and exploitation; crisscrossing borders; beginning as unaccompanied children in one place, becoming child soldiers in another, and refugee minors in a third. There’s an opportunity to break the cycle that sees these children return to the bondage of war, servitude, and sexual exploitation in neighboring countries.

 

 

Honduras

Focus on Children - Child Soldiers

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, International Child Labor Program, Sept 2002

www.unicef.org/graca/kidsoldi.htm

[accessed 9 September 2014]

"At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry….Later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and the fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew?…There is a great pain in my being when I recall all these things….In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights." - From a Honduras case study, cited in United Nations, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children: Special Concerns, 1998.

 

 

Liberia

Child Soldiers of Liberia

Liberian Educational Achievement Foundation LEAF

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The people of Liberia were harassed and intimidated by the different factions. Civilians were repeatedly robbed and murdered. During the seven year war, villages and towns continually changed hands, and each time a new faction moved in, they would plunder, torture and commit atrocities.  Many children were forced to join one of the warlords. Their parents, siblings or other villagers would be tortured until they agreed to join.

 

 

Myanmar

Myanmar rebel group denies child soldier claims

Agence France-Presse AFP, Bangkok, Nov 25, 2007

www.abc.net.au/news/2007-11-25/burma-rebel-group-denies-child-soldier-claims/967816

[accessed 25 January 2011]

In a statement released Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that both the military government and rebel groups continued to violate children's rights by recruiting underage soldiers.  Citing a recent UN report, he said that the government was picking up street children or those without national identity cards and offering them the choice of arrest or joining the army.

Myanmar's military government officially denies using child soldiers and has passed a law to outlaw the practice.  But human rights groups say child soldiers in Myanmar remain alarmingly common, with boys as young as 12 recruited to fight the ethnic rebel armies in the country's border regions. - htsc

 

 

Nepal

Nepal rebels plan to train 50,000 Child Soldiers

Asian Human Rights Commission, Asia Child Rights ACR Weekly Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 10 - 10 March 2004

acr.hrschool.org/mainfile.php/0169/284/

[accessed 23 February 2011]

This week, Nepal's Maoist rebels announced plans to raise a militia of 50,000 children by April, amid reports of mass abduction, even sexual abuse of kids, who they allegedly use as cannon fodder.

 

 

Paraguay

International Federation of Journalists - The 2002 Jury Report

International Federation of Journalists, 14 October 2002

www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/browse/148/backpid/191/category/asia-pacific-1/article/ifj-names-16-world-class-journalists-in-line-up-for-50000-euro-natali-prize-awards/

[accessed 9 September 2014]

IN THE REGIONAL CATEGORY OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN THE 2002 NATALI PRIZE GOES TO: - The series of five articles by Julio César Benegas concerning human violations within the Military Service of Paraguay is remarkable journalism, which highlights the corruption which is at the core of the recruitment of child soldiers as well as the cultural aspects involved. These articles also exposed the exploitation of child soldiers and other human rights violations, which resulted in the death of 10 soldiers a year on average. For military personnel Paraguay is one of the most dangerous countries worldwide in peaceful times, Benegas concluded in his report.

 

 

Russia

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/iclp/tda2004/russia.htm

[accessed 20 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are trafficked globally for sexual exploitation from Russia, and are trafficked internally generally from rural to urban areas.  There were reports of kidnapped or purchased children being trafficked for sexual exploitation, child pornography, or harvesting of body parts.  There are confirmed cases of sex trafficking of children and child sex tourism in Russia, a major producer and distributor of child pornography over the internet.

There are reports that rebel forces in Chechnya recruit and use child soldiers. These forces also are using children to plant landmines and other explosives

 

 

Rwanda

Interview of John R. Miller, Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

International Rescue Committee, Trafficking Watch, Issue No. 5, Summer 2004, October 14, 2004

2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/37085.htm

[accessed 14 august 2012]

MILLER: Due to the special efforts of Rachel Yousey, reports officer for Africa, there is an added emphasis on child soldiering and slavery in this year's report. Although it exists in other parts of the world, this phenomenon is most acute in Africa. When you talk about abolishing child soldiering and slavery, governments need to demonstrate political will and put pressure on military forces to end this practice. There needs to be political will at the top. Our embassies are increasingly addressing this issue. But there's also the issue of rehabilitating these children whose lives and souls are damaged, who need to be reintegrated into society. There are some models we are very impressed with, including a shelter in Rwanda where 12 to 17 year-old former child soldiers are sent for rehabilitative and psychological counseling and services. They relearn their native language and receive help reintegrating into their home communities. We are hoping to replicate programs like these.

 

 

Sierra Leone

Boy soldier 'recruited' at the age of 6

The Times, March 30, 2004

www.essex.ac.uk/armedcon/story_id/000179.html

[accessed 25 April 2012]

Kabba Williams is thought to have been Sierra Leone’s youngest child soldier. He was one of about 10,000 children forced to fight in the 11-year conflict by rebel or army troops and spent almost his entire childhood in their hands

One day in particular is etched on his memory. At the age of 12 he was given a group of captives to kill. “I had the nickname ‘Hungry Lion’. I was given a bayonet. They were tied up, six of them. I stabbed them repeatedly with the knife.”

 

 

Sri Lanka

Tamil Tigers Forcibly Recruit Child Soldiers

Human Rights Watch, New York, 11 November 2004

www.hrw.org/en/news/2004/11/09/sri-lanka-tamil-tigers-forcibly-recruit-child-soldiers

[accessed 24 December 2010]

By abducting children or threatening their families, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have recruited thousands of child soldiers in Sri Lanka since active fighting ended in 2002, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) use intimidation and threats to pressure Tamil families in the north and east of Sri Lanka to provide sons and daughters for military service. When families refuse, their children are sometimes abducted from their homes at night or forcibly recruited while walking to school. Parents who resist the recruitment of their children face retribution from the Tamil Tigers, including violence or detention.

 

 

Sudan & Uganda

A Hero in Hell. Former Drug Dealer Frees Abducted Child Soldiers in Sudan and Uganda

Maria Sliwa, Assist News Service ANS, Nimule, South Sudan, October 5, 2005

ithinkimafundamentalist.blogspot.com/2005/10/this-guy-is-just-asking-to-have-movie.html

[accessed 2 January 2011]

In March of this year, a band of these small predators attacked a group of women who were collecting firewood near the border of Southern Sudan: just a few miles from Sam’s orphanage. The juvenile attackers managed to effortlessly hack off the lips and ears of seven of the victims and abduct several others.

The children of the LRA perform these acts at the bidding of their adult counterparts and make up about 80 percent of the rebel group, according to the United Nations. The LRA has kidnapped more than 20,000 children since 1988 and today its captives constitute the largest army of child soldiers in Africa.

 

 

Timor Leste

Advancing the Campaign Against Child Labor: Efforts at the Country Level - Indonesia

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2002

archive.today/D6kf2#selection-1077.1-1077.73

[accessed 11 September 2014]

 [see footnote 992] 

Children have been reported in militia groups that formed in East Timor and in the separatist region of Aceh and in the Maluku Islands. Reports from the Malukus indicate that children between the ages of 7 and 12 years of age have participated in both sides of the conflict. “Asia Report: Indonesia and East Timor,” May 2000, 2, 7;

According to this source, sources within the churches in the region said at least 200 boys had been forcibly recruited and trained as fighters.

[see footnote 992]  Children have been reported in militia groups that formed in East Timor and in the separatist region of Aceh and in the Maluku Islands. Reports from the Malukus indicate that children between the ages of 7 and 12 years of age have participated in both sides of the conflict. “Asia Report: Indonesia and East Timor,” May 2000, 2, 7;

According to this source, sources within the churches in the region said at least 200 boys had been forcibly recruited and trained as fighters.

 

 

Uganda

Child, slave, soldier

Testimony provided by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, New Internationalist 337, August 2001

www.newint.org/features/2001/08/05/soldier/

[accessed 2 January 2011]

HERE IS THE TESTIMONY OF ONE UGANDAN CHILD SOLDIER - I heard later that two boys from my home were captured and beaten because I had escaped. One of the boys was stabbed in the hand and asked to bring the rebels to my parents’ home. They beat my mother and brother with clubs and axes until they died. They threatened that they’ll kill more people if I don’t come back. This was told me by a boy who lived near my home. He told me it was my fault my mother and brother had been killed.’

 

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