How many child soldiers are there?
250,000 children are thought to be involved in armed conflict. Some estimates put the figure as high as 300,000. It is thought that 40% of child soldiers are girls.
In which countries are child soldiers used?
Evidence suggests that child soldiers are active in at least 14 countries: Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, India, Iraq, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand and Yemen.
Why and how are child soldiers used?
Children are more easily manipulated than adult fighters. Many children will fight on the frontlines. Not all fight, they may be given jobs such as couriers. Girls are often forced into sexual slavery.
How are child soldiers recruited?
Many are recruited by force – stolen from their families and forced to fight. In some cases children are made to kill their relatives so they can never return home. Others join voluntarily, driven by poverty and the hope of a regular meal.