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Rome Reports

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Stopping the Recruitment of Child Soldiers

February 12th marks the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. It's estimated that worldwide, there are roughly 300,000 kids, forced into armies. It's a common practice for many terrorist groups, like Boko Haram, which has a strong presence in Nigeria.  CARD. PETER TURKSON President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace "They strap the bombs to these young people because the military guys are not likely to search them very stringently. They can make them suicide victims.â? South Sudan is also facing this challenge. According to a UN report, in 2014 more than 12,000 children were forced to be soldiers in that country.  CARD. PETER TURKSON President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace "They would raid a school, capture all the young people and then, you know, introduce them to fighting. You know, they create a fighting force out of them.â? DAVID 12 Year Old  "I don't want to be a soldier. I will end up with nothing and I know that ultimately, if I keep on fighting, I will be killed.â? But it's not only boys who are targeted. Some girls are kidnapped and turned into sex slaves. Others are impregnated on purpose, so that their babies organs, can be sold in the black market.  CARD. PETER TURKSON President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace "So when their kids are born, they are brought up in special centers only to have their organs harvested from their bodies later.â?  War and conflicts are the perfect breeding grounds for abuse. The UN estimates that 15 million children have been affected by the wars in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. JRB/KLH  AA / Unifeed SV -PR Up: MPI #World