CHILD SOLDIERS IN CONTEMPORARY ARMED CONFLICTS (Dzieci zolnierze we wspólczesnych konfliktach zbrojnych)
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The practice of recruiting and exploiting children is an inseparable feature of a majority of contemporary armed conflicts. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 children are currently fighting in 17 armed conflicts, mainly in Africa and Asia. Children are recruited because they are 'cheap' to maintain, obedient, do not question orders, are easy to manipulate. A major influence on the occurrence of this phenomenon is also a change in the nature of armed conflicts as well as proliferation and technological development of light weapons. Another determinant is the existence of groups of children particularly threatened by recruitment and negative external conditions that often induce them to volunteer to join armed groups. Child soldiers are exploited as porters, sentries, spies, cooks, sexual slaves, and above all as soldiers fighting on the front line. They are forced to kill, rob and mutilate their relatives and the civilian population. The recruitment of children results in physical and psychic injuries that are difficult to overcome.
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