Tune into this week’s episode of #SpeakingfortheSilenced!
You are listening to Speaking for the Silenced podcast with your host(s) Jacqueline Sun.
In this episode of Speaking for the Silenced, we will begin a two-part segment discussing child soldiers and their roles in wars. A child soldier is someone who is under 18 years old who is compelled through force or fraud to engage, directly or indirectly, in armed conflict. They may work under the military or a non-government organization.
Segment 1: Background of Child Soldiers
93000 children found to be soldiers around world
South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
First use in Iran-Iraq war
Poverty/Bad Home Conditions
Survival/Protection in Warring Zones
Outside threats of attack/organizations coerce families or child themselves
Force, Coercion, or Indoctrination (as seen in the Iran-Iraq war, where it all started)
Young, weaker, and more easily manipulated.
It is an extensive form of trafficking
Never a truly voluntary choice
Segment 2: The Experience of the Victims
Not always used in direct combat.
3 main uses:
Child more vulnerable, experience chronic injury or mental illness
Sent on suicide missions, talk about the Iraq-Iran war experience
Due to unassuming nature, act well as spies
More trustworthy, experience less resistance, bring information back to their organization
Girls are frequently targets, given to adult soldiers as compensation
Suffer physical and mental trauma, highly susceptible to STIS
Segment 3: The Aftermath
PTSD plays huge role :
Adults more likely to find help, children more likely to shut down
Grow up believing in a life of violence
Important to welcome child back into comfort and normality, which often doesn’t happen
Provide physical comfort and aid, psychological support