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2018 (Narrative date)

The Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2016 modern slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa accounted from approximately 13.6 percent of the world's total enslaves population. The issue of child soldiers remains a problem across the region. South Sudan has been experiencing a civil war since 2013 and it is estimated that round 19,000 children are serving in the ranks of armed forces and militia groups in the country. Young children, mostly young boys, are forced to abduct, rape and kill members of their own community under threats to their own lives. While continued international pressure has led to the freeing of over 200 child soldiers in April 2018, the number of children forced to fight continues to grow due to ongoing aggression in the region.

David was captured and forced to fight for rebels in South Sudan at the age of 16 years old.

So, when they captured me, I was about 16 years. They took me, they killed my father, and they told me ‘if you don’t want to go with us, it is very easy, we will kill you’.

We would go for fighting, always looting, burning villages, raiding the cattle and also abducting women and some girls.

I feel very bad, because it’s my people that I’ve been doing this to.

Why are they abducting people? Why are they recruiting children to the army to fight? Take them to court.


As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch