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.
Ameen, 17 years old, told Human Rights Watch about what happened to him after he was captured by Olony’s forces outside the UN base in September 2014.
They took us by force. (Then) they took us in a boat to Diteng. We got training in Diteng, how to use weapons, how to stand to attention, we were also in parades. I was (then) taken to Bakang, there was fighting there. There was one battle, it was two days long, I was shooting. There were many children fighting there. … Yes we saw Olony, he used to come to us in Diteng. He said we need to be strong.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch