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US Adds Turkey, Pakistan to List of Countries Using Child Soldiers
Newly released child soldiers stand with rifles during their release ceremony in Yambio, South Sudan, Feb. 7, 2018. (Stefanie Glinski/AFP via Getty Images)

US Adds Turkey, Pakistan to List of Countries Using Child Soldiers

The US on Thursday added Turkey and Pakistan to its list of countries that recruit child soldiers.

The US Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) requires publication of the list of foreign governments that have recruited or used child soldiers during the previous year as part of the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP Report assesses the anti-trafficking efforts taken by countries around the world, and in some cases, the direct involvement of governments in trafficking in persons, including sex trafficking, forced labor, and the use as child soldiers.

The 2021 CSPA list includes the governments of Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.

Turkey’s inclusion marks the first time a NATO ally has been on the list. The State Department said Turkey was providing “tangible support” to a Syrian opposition militia, the Sultan Murad division, that recruited and used child soldiers, and that Turkey had also used child soldiers in Libya, where Turkish soldiers and proxy forces have supported the Tripoli-based government against the eastern-based Libyan National Army forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar.

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