Child soldiers meet the Palermo Protocol’s definition of ‘trafficking in persons’.
They are any person under 18, used in any capacity by armed forces or groups; this includes combatants, but also ancillary roles such as cooks, ‘wives’ and guards. However, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes often use narrower definitions which exclude many roles typically undertaken by girls.
In failing to recognise girls’ experiences, DDR programmes leave them vulnerable. They escape trafficking situations only to face a lack of support and a high risk of re-exploitation.
This chapter examines the remit and outcomes of DDR programmes. It assesses how they impact the futures of those both included and excluded and offers recommendations for more effective, inclusive efforts going forwards.