Child Soldiers, Use of

In the 1990s and in the first decade of the 21st century, the post–Cold War epidemic of child soldiering became a distinctive feature of civil wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A child soldier is, according to UNICEF,

any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity—including, but not limited to, combatants, cooks, porters, messengers, and anyone accompanying such groups, other than family members. (1997, n.p.)

No one can determine the actual numbers but according to pessimistic and perhaps exaggerated estimates at the turn of the 21st century, there might have been as many as 300,000 child soldiers fighting in more than 30 countries around the world. In the late ...

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