Child soldiers are children (individuals under the age of 18) who are used for any military purpose. Some are in their late teens, while others may be as young as four. They are not only boys – many are girls.

Some child soldiers are used for fighting – to kill and commit other acts of violence. Others are used as cooks, porters, messengers, informants or spies, or in any other way their commanders want. Child soldiers are also used for sexual purposes.

Military organisations that recruit children find them easier than adults to entice or force into service. In general, children are more compliant and easier to manipulate.

Some children choose to join a military organisation as a route out of poverty, for protection, or as a way of making up for the loss of family or a lack of education.

In the chaos of armed conflict, children are often separated from their family. These children are particularly vulnerable to all kinds of abuses, including recruitment by military organisations.

Find out more:

Photo © Ed Ou

Thanks for visiting the page, we hope you found it useful and informative.

We are committed to ending the use of child soldiers but providing life-changing projects for vulnerable children and bringing about sustainable change across the world comes at a price. We also want you to continue having the most comprehensive, high-quality resources and information at your fingertips but to do this, we need your support.

Please help us continue our work and donate today. You can donate online now or simply text SIGN18 £10 to 70070.

Thank you
The Child Soldiers International Team