The Gruesome Idea of a Child Soldier

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Child soldier. Some words don't belong together.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) defines child soldiers as "any child—boy or girl—under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity." Child soldiers perform a range of tasks including participation in combat, laying mines and explosives; scouting, spying, acting as decoys, couriers or guards; training, drill or other preparations; logistics and support functions, cooking and domestic labor; and sexual slavery or they can be used for political advantage either as human shields or in propaganda. Child combatants have been found on battlefields throughout history. Perhaps the most notable example is the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) in the closing days of World War II. What is new is the extent to which children can be found on the modern battlefield today. Children are used as soldiers because they are easier to condition and brainwash. They don't eat much food, don't need to be paid much and have an underdeveloped sense of danger so are easier to send into the line of fire. As children make up the majority demographic in many conflict-affected countries, there's a constant supply of potential recruits. How do child soldiers get recruited?

* Some are abducted from their homes and forced to become soldiers * A village may be forced to provide a certain number of children as soldiers in exchange for staying safe from attack. * Some children are volunteered by their parents due to extreme poverty and hunger at home. * In some rare cases children volunteer to join the fight because of ideological reasons, avenge the death of their family, or because it is their best option for survival. Are child soldiers effective? Yes. Trusting, vulnerable, and often intimidated, children can easily be manipulated. In combat, children can be daring and tenacious, particularly when under the influence of drugs—a common practice—or when compelled...
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