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July 29th, 2008
Lord's Children
Map: Child Soldiers Fighting Around the World

An estimated 300,000 child soldiers are currently fighting in conflicts around the world, according to UNICEF. These children participate in all aspects of warfare, serving as armed combatants, sex slaves, spies, messengers, minesweepers and even suicide bombers.

Children are sought after because they are obedient, daring and abundant. Many child soldiers are abducted or recruited by force; others join as an escape from poverty, for the perceived sense of belonging and protection, or to avenge violence against family members. For some children, armed groups are a source of food and their best hope for survival.

The map below looks at conflicts where child soldiers — defined by UNICEF as boys or girls under the age of 18 — have served in recent years.

  • Lynn Salehi

    The map does not appear! Is it missing???

  • Dawn Tyner

    I think its so-so sad the way of the world today! I truly believe theres more that can be done to save the children. our ignorant nations can fight over oil, land,etc, but they cant fight for the babies!!! These poor inocent souls, who havent hurt anything or anyone, in one of the richest nations… why oh Lord, WHY? Help Us-Forgive Us!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Judith

    It seems to be a worldwide thing that if it isn’t your child no one seems to care. And to the child it seems that if your own parents don’t care you are not worth caring for. Where is this lesson learned? Is it religious?

  • Pamela Yates

    The International Criminal Court defines child soldiers as anyone UNDER the age of 15. Your map includes any young person under the age of 18. By your definition, shouldn’t you include the US because young men and women can join the Armed Forces and fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan at age 17.

  • Danielle Gabay-Curry

    This makes me feel oh soo grateful for the blesssings in my life. I cannot ee begin to imagine what those children are going through.We need to help.

  • Rakim James

    very infomative

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