More than 200,000 children are currently used in armed conflicts in several countries across the world. IBTimes UK spoke with Erica Hall, senior child rights policy adviser at World Vision UK, on the causes that lead to child soldier recruitment and the solutions to adopt to ensure children can live a life free from violence and traumas.
Hall explained that not only are children forcibly recruited to become soldiers, they also voluntarily join militant groups for different reasons such as to avenge a member of their family or to fight in order to have an income.
This is why World Vision believes NGOs and governments should collaborate to eliminate so-called "push factors" so children will not feel the need to become soldiers so they can provide for their families, or to vent their frustration.
Nigerian terror group Boko Haram (Iswap) and Islamic State (Isis) – which controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq – are known for kidnapping children and training them to become fighters. Boko Haram also forces children and women to carry out suicide bombings targeting civilians mainly in northern Nigeria.
But the two groups are not the only militant factions that use child soldiers in their fight. Hall warned children are currently being used in more than 13 countries across the world, including Central African Republic, South Sudan and Myanmar.