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Human Trafficking
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For more information:

Human Trafficking Roundtable
(800) 728-7228, x5435
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Or write to
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Child Soldiers

“ ... we believe that all children depend upon adults for safety and security in a world that does not always value children;
All children are affected first and most deeply by those things that work against health and wholeness:
where there is war, children are frightened and without a safe place ... ”
(A Vision for Children and the Church, adopted by the 203rd General Assembly, 1993)

In times of war or armed conflict, the most vulnerable depend upon adults for safety and security. But in many war-torn parts of the world, children are not only frightened and without a safe place, they are forced to engage in warfare as child soldiers. Child soldiers are considered to be victims of human trafficking when they have been recruited unlawfully through force, fraud, or coercion. Many children are abducted to fight on the front lines. Others are unlawfully made to work as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. Young girls can be forced to marry or have sex with adult soldiers. Both girls and boys are often sexually abused and are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

According to The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA), the term “child soldier” means:

  • any person under 18 year of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces;
  • any person under 18 years of age who has been compulsorily recruited into governmental armed forces;
  • any person under 15 years of age who has been voluntarily recruited into governmental armed forces; or,
  • any person under 18 years of age who has been recruited or used in hostilities by armed forces distinct from the armed forces of a state.

Who are the perpetrators of this manifestation of human trafficking? They may be government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. The CSPA requires publication in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) of a list of foreign governments with armed forces or government supported armed groups that recruit and use child soldiers.

The 2010 CSPA list includes:

  1. Burma
  2. Chad
  3. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  4. Somalia
  5. Sudan
  6. Yemen

Learn about how the PC(USA) is responding through the Red Hand Campaign


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