U.S. Department of State: 12-year-olds fighting in eastern Ukraine
Children ages 15 to 17 are being recruited as informants and “human shields” in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.
The U.S. Department of State has released the report on trafficking in persons which, in particular, mentions the involvement of children in armed confrontation in eastern Ukraine.
According to the report, children ages 15 to 17 were actively being recruited to participate in Russian-separatist militarized groups.
“There were reports that children ages 15 to 17 were actively being recruited to participate in militarized youth groups that teach children to carry and use weapons,” the report reads.
A Ukrainian government official reported that one children’s battalion may include children as young as 12 years old.
“The recruitment of children by militant groups took place on territory not under the control of the central government and in areas where the government was unable to enforce national prohibitions against the use of children in armed conflict. Russian-led separatists also continued to employ children as informants and human shields during the reporting period,” the report reads.
The report of the U.S. Department of State also repeatedly mentions that Ukraine is not only a transit country for trafficking in person but also a supplier of the “resource.” In particular, the IDPs are the vulnerable category. As noted, the Ukrainian government does not make enough effort to stop this practice.