Photographs by: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Lynsey Addario, Martin Adler, Richard Butler, Francesco Cito, Gary Calton, Chris de Bode, Donna De Cesare, Miquel Dewever Plana, Tiane Doan na Champassak, Colin Finlay, Riccardo Gangale, Cedric Gerbehaye, Jan Grarup, Tim A. Hetherington, Rhodri Jones, Bob Koenig, Roger Lemoyne, Zed Nelson, Peter Mantello, Heather McClintock, Olivier Pin Fat, Giacomo Pirozzi, Q. Sakamaki, Marcelo Salinas, Dominic Sansoni, Guy Tillim, Sven Torfinn, Ami Vitale, Vincent van de Wijngaard, Tomas van Houtryve, Kadir van Lohuizen, Alvaro Ybarra-Zavala, Francesco Zizola
Essay by: Jo Becker, Jimmi Briggs, Dick Durbin, Emmanuel Jal, Michael Wessells
“I would like to give you a message. Please do your best to tell the world what is happening to us, the children, so that other children don’t have to pass through this violence.”
—A 15-year-old girl who escaped from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda
Up to half a million children have been engaged in more than 85 conflicts worldwide. As armed conflict proliferates, increasing numbers of children are exposed to the brutalities of war. Boys and girls around the world are recruited to be child soldiers by armed forces and militant groups, either forcibly or voluntarily. Some are tricked into service by manipulative recruiters, others join in order to escape poverty or discrimination, while still others are outright abducted at school, on the streets, and at home. Aside from participating in combat, many are used for sexual purposes, made to lay and clear land mines, or employed as spies, messengers, porters, or servants. Kids have become the ultimate weapons of twenty-first-century war.
Child Soldiers focuses on countries with a history of child warfare, as captured by photographers and writers from across the globe. The book explores the children’s time as combatants, as well as their demobilization and rehabilitation. Included are Tim Hetherington’s photographs from Liberia; Roger Lemoyne and Cedric Gerbehaye’s work from the Congo; Ami Vitale’s series on child Maoist recruits in Nepal; and other work from Burma, Columbia, the Central African Republic, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Palestine.