New Job for Child Soldiers
Formerly they were child soldiers in Uganda and Sierra Leone, now they are taking up arms again as mercenaries - for starvation wages in foreign wars. Employed by companies in Europe and the USA, former child soldiers are being deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict zones around the world.
Former child soldiers from Uganda and Sierra Leone are now being hired again for a pittance as soldiers, security guards and service personnel - because there is no work in their own countries. Bockarie Marrah is one of them. He was kidnapped by rebels in Sierra Leone and his parents slaughtered before his eyes. After the civil war, he was offered help to cope with his experiences, stop killing and have feelings again through programs developed with international aid. And then what? Recruiters from private companies turn up and offer jobs. "The day I joined Camp Lion to prepare for a new war, the memories flooded back and I began to cry," Bockarie Marrah says. One of the largest private security companies is located in the UK. Aegis recruits mercenaries for national armies all over the world. Psychologist Michael Wessels, who has been treating child soldiers for years, says, "I have spent my life helping to rehabilitate and reintegrate young people. We boast of being moral, always trying to do the right thing whilst still exploiting former child soldiers. Nothing could be worse for these young people. And nothing could be worse for security." So where will these people fight next? For and against whom?