Child Soldiers International slams army recruitment tactics

Charity Child Soldiers International has criticised the British Army for its latest recruitment campaign, which it says is appealing to an alarming number of vulnerable under 18-year-olds.

More than 19,000 under-18s have applied to join the army since the launch of its ‘This is Belonging campaign’, according to the Guardian newspaper. Of these, just over 500 have begun training. 

Defence chiefs have denied the campaign is aimed at younger recruits but new figures obtained by the charity reveal that more than 19,041 16-17-year-olds applied to join the army after the launch of the advert, compared to 49,000 18-24-year-olds.

Child Soldiers International’s director of programmes Rachel Taylor said the army wanted young people to sign up because they were “more psychologically malleable”.

She added: “They are more likely to submit unquestioningly to what they are told to do. They are in the process of forming their adult identity. Some veterans say the army wants people in that age group because they can be psychologically and emotionally manipulated into unquestioning loyalty. This is an age group that shouldn’t be targeted because of those psychological vulnerabilities.”

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