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7 Facts About Child Soldiers, including Children & Guns, A Poem

Updated on December 26, 2012
These are Children Armed in Conflict  NOT in fancy dress costumes!
These are Children Armed in Conflict NOT in fancy dress costumes!

7 Facts About Child Soldiers:

  1. Today, hundreds of thousands of children under 18 years of age, serve in government forces, or armed rebel groups. Children as young as 8 years old have been reported.
  2. Both girls and boys are used as child soldiers. Children are used as combatants, messengers, guards, porters, cooks and for forced sexual services.
  3. Victims most likely to become child soldiers are poor, separated from their families, living in combat zone, and have limited access to education.
  4. Children are sometimes forced to kill their own families and neighbours, such practises help ensure the child is unable to return home.
  5. In some countries, former child soldiers have access to programmes for restoration and get them back into school. However many do not have access to support and are at risk of re-recruitment.
  6. In some conflicts girls & women may be raped, or given to military commanders as wives.
  7. During conflicts some children are abducted or recruited by force


For years, I was vaguely aware of child soldiers, however recently I came across a shocking image on a non-profit website called AK-47 Project. The image shown on a video slide depicts children lined up in military uniform. Being a mother of two young was like a shot to the head! It actually moved me to write this hub in hope it will raise further awareness.

It was heart-drenching to learn that an estimate of 300,000 children, boys & girls under the age of 18 are today involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. In some countries such as Nepal, Sir Lanka and Uganda, a third of child soldiers were reported to be girls. In some conflicts girls were raped, or given to military commanders as wives/sex slaves.

There should be no weapons in the hands of children, It is disturbing to say the least. In fact a breach of international law. The ILO convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18, for use in armed conflicts. It has been agreed by over 150 countries. So, why are children still reported in armed conflicts?

Sadly, many children who live under the poverty line join armed groups because they believe the group will offer food and security. Moreover, in most cases many children are manipulated to join or simply abducted and forced to serve. This is known as a form of slavery.

Below is a poem featured "Children & Guns" which I recently wrote for poetry4freedom, a fun-raising Ebook project to help raise awareness of the many forms of slavery worldwide that exists today...please visit Poetry4Freedom if you would like to learn more or participate. Thankyou.

POEM: Children & Guns

Children caught up in a world of violence

There should not be young blood in sight

Instead been taught to use a pen

They`re trained to use a weapon

Children in fancy dress, not the case at all

To a poor child, how nice

New set of clothes and food to eat

Their lives in the commanders hand

Unaware of the blood shed ahead

Too young to understand, fragile children

Like snails, placed in public walkways

Their chance of survival slim.

Illiterate and immature

yet skilled in loading guns

No place to call home, family all shot dead

That`s how it works, children`s hands in the red

Their souls in turmoil, sprayed with black

Their minds filled with sand, blocked

They do not know what they do

Enslaved by rebel fighters, mistreated, used

Unprotected in the open fields

Terrified and paralyzed to hit and run

They remain a child soldier

Each life worth less than a grenade

The unthinkable, destructible,

Children trained to kill & torture

Commanders like hungry tigers

Will stop at nothing, obey or die!

Recruitors like fierce wolves

They use anything at their disposal:

Do you have arms & legs? (check)

Are you desperate & hungry? (check)

Displaced & nowhere to go? (check)

Well, take no chance, come join us

We will feed you, give you purpose!

Precious children put your guns down

Help is on it`s way, to get you back in school

Freedom will be yours someday, hope is on it`s way.

Copyright© 2012 Pearlmacb/Meg Nezaj. All rights reserved.

Children in a World of Violence!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Music For Freedom

The injustice against children has caused me to take another step in hope to make a difference and because I believe in the power of music, I have decided to set music to this poem and donate it to Music4Freedom; a project run by GlobalFreedomConcerts.

AK-47 Project is run by an non-profit organisation which are doing an incredible job rescuing child soldiers and helping at risk children. If you wish to help support this cause, visit (disclaimer: I do not work for this organisation nor recieve any incentives for mentioning their website.)


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    • pearlmacb profile image

      pearlmacb 4 years ago from Switzerland

      Thankyou for your response GypsyRoseLee, and for adding your strong voice. Yes, please do share this hub to raise more awareness. Bless you

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for sharing this interesting hub. I was aware of this being a fact and it's good to hear someone is trying to stop this kind of horror. Children should be allowed to live their childhood playing games and taking life easy. Definitely not involved in war. Passing this on.

    • pearlmacb profile image

      pearlmacb 4 years ago from Switzerland

      Hi Mhatter99! I`m sorry to hear of your family`s history, imagine the violence these youngsters witnessed during those conflicts! Perhaps you could write a book on this...with real accounts & characters? have you had interest in writing poetry based on their stories?

      Wishing you happy holidays :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for raising our awareness about this. Both of my mother's brothers defended Berlin in WWII. They were 14 and 16. Weirder: their father had to work for the German underground.