According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, there are approximately 408,000 people enslaved in Burundi. Amnesty International describes how military leaders have fuelled Burundi’s 10-year armed conflict by recruiting and abducting children. Poverty and years of armed conflict have made it easier for a whole generation of children to be drawn into the armed conflict. The Burundian armed forces as well as Burundian armed political groups have all recruited and used child soldiers in a variety of capacities - as porters, informants, “wives” and actual combatants.
Fabienne* was forced to join an armed group at the age of 13 in 2001.
They took us as wives straightaway. We had to cook for them. We mostly stayed in the forest but sometimes we had to go with them and carry what they looted...They all had sex with me. I don't know how many people had sex with me. A man would come, then another and another. I wasn't even the youngest. Some girls were even younger than me. Even the commanders called for you. You couldn't refuse...They said they'd kill you if you ran away.
*Not their real name
Narrative provided by Amnesty International