Throughout the world today, according to a United Nations report, there
are an estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 actively participating in armed
conflicts. The problem is most widespread in Africa and Asia, although there are some
countries in Europe and the Americas which tolerate children working as soldiers. Probally the worst offender is Sierra Leone.
Most of these minors are between the ages of 15 and 18, although many are recruited as
low as 10, and there have been records of some as young as 7.
International law states that it is illegal to for people under the age of 15 to serve in
the military, to enforce conscription of people under the age of 18, and sets severe
restrictions on the capacity in which those volunteers under 18 can serve. But of course,
these restrictions are being ignored. Armed forces are ignoring them for a variety of reasons. In long term conflicts, they are finding that it is getting harder to recruit adults, because a lot of people of age who support their cause have already joined, and died. They also use minors because it is easy to do so. Children are for the most part more susceptible to indoctrination, and are still quick learners. Weapons technology such as the ultra-cheap AK-47, which is light enough for almost any minor to use, make it easy to equip minors and train them in easy to use weaponry. But, the main reason that people are still using child soldiers is because no one in the international community is attempting to stop them. The only people really complaining about this topic is the United Nations (half-heartedly at that) and Amnesty International, and a few other non-governmental organization.