By Ashlie Bailey
We typically think of child soldiers as existing only in faraway places under extreme circumstances if we even believe it exists at all. The reality is that anywhere in the world where there is government corruption, it is possible for children to be used in war. The roles that slaves are expected to serve as in wars is diverse. This form of trafficking affects boys more than any other group.
Children can be forced into labor serving soldiers, or they can be forced to become soldiers themselves, and are likely to get killed. Forced labor in farming and agriculture can take place as a result of war when a government forces farmers to give up their land and crops to feed the military. Sex trafficking can take place as a result of war when a government provides prostitutes for men in the military. This happened in Japan during World War Two.
This is not just a thing of the past. Trafficking by military continues to take place all over the world today. It is far worse than the type of trafficking that regular human traffickers perpetrate because it is governments who are doing the trafficking which means the chances for help or escape are far less likely. To the kids, this may seem like an opportunity at first. They are brainwashed into believing that they are meant for this role.
This is a whole-nother type of evil because it puts children at risk of encountering military torture and being killed. Even worse than being killed is the chance that a child soldier will be captured or imprisoned by an enemy that will not hesitate to inflict the worst kind of torture on them and their families. The type of trauma that this can cause is unfathomable.
Killings can serve as the first required initiation task in their training. It is not unusual for corrupt military men to also be into other illegal activities. The kids are conditioned to not only fight but are used as spies, sex slaves, and drug mules. Some of them may be forced to act as assassins not only in war, but they may be forced to assassinate the competition in the drug trade.
The trafficking of boys is less known than the trafficking of other groups. Trafficking of boys in wars is far too common to keep silent on this issue. Governments need to be held accountable. Peace needs to be worked towards. It is only with peace that the demand for child soldiers will be solved.