In 2000, UN Convention 182–the “Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention”–came into force. This statute declared that the “forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict” fell within the worst forms of child labor and included provisions to move toward its elimination. Today an estimated 250,000 children continue to be enslaved as soldiers.

The U.S., Somalia, and Child Soldiers

Viewpoint/Elizabeth Gardner

I’ve been going through a mental checklist of some of the 12-year-olds that I’ve known. The list includes some extremely rambunctious boys and some spirited girls—my little sister’s friends, an old coach’s son, a family friend, girls that I coached at volleyball camp. It’s these kids that I’ve been thinking back to as I’ve read the recent press that’s come out regarding child soldiers in Somalia.

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