The Child Soldiers World Index shows that children have been used in war in at least 18 countries since 2016.

The use of children, including large numbers of girls, as ‘human bombs’ is one alarming new trend.

Boko Haram used 83 children as ‘human bombs’ in the first eight months of 2017 and 66% of them were girls.

During 2017, more than 3,000 cases of child recruitment in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were verified, at least 19,000 under-18s are a part of deepening conflict in South Sudan and recruitment levels doubled in the Middle East.

115,000 child soldiers have been freed since 2000

Since it was adopted in 2000, 167 countries have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (‘OPAC’) – the child soldier treaty – 30 have yet to do so.

Great progress has been made since OPAC’s adoption and the UN has helped free more than 115,000 child soldiers since 2000, but tens of thousands continue to be exploited.