|Enacted by||the 110th United States Congress|
|Effective||December 23, 2008|
|Public law||110–457 (Title IV)|
|Statutes at Large||122 Stat. 5044 through 122 Stat. 5092 (48 pages)|
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) is a United States federal statute signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 23, 2008, as part of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. The law criminalizes leading a military force which recruits child soldiers. The law's definition of child soldiers includes "any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces."
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.
The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) is a federal statute passed into law in 2000 by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton. The law was later reauthorized by presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump. In addition to its applicability to US citizens, it has the ability to authorize protections for undocumented immigrants who are victims of severe forms of trafficking and violence.
On July 28, 2006, Representative Chris Smith (R–NJ) introduced a bill called the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2006, which was referred to the House Committee on International Relations, where it died.On April 19, 2007, Senator Dick Durbin (D–IL) introduced a similar bill, which gained 35 cosponsors. On June 7, 2007, Rep. Jim Marshall (D–GA) reintroduced the Child Soldier Prevention Act, which gained 13 cosponsors. On July 12, 2007, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE) also introduced the bill, which gained 15 cosponsors of its own.
Christopher Henry Smith is an American politician currently serving in his 20th term as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 4th congressional district, having served since 1981. The district includes portions of Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. He is a member of the Republican Party.
The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, also known as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives, which has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States.
Richard Joseph Durbin is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Illinois, a seat he was first elected to in 1996. He has been the Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, the second-highest position in the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act was introduced as part of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 in the House of Representatives on December 9, 2008, by Rep. Howard Berman (D–CA) and cosponsored by six other Representatives: John Conyers (D–MI), Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE), Zoe Lofgren (D–CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL), Bobby Scott (D–VA), and Chris Smith (R–NJ).The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary Committees. On December 10, Berman asked for unanimous consent to discharge the bill from committee. The bill would then pass the House without objection. On the same day, the Senate passed the bill without amendment by unanimous consent. On December 23, President George W. Bush signed the bill into law.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.
Howard Lawrence Berman is an American attorney and former U.S. Representative, last serving California's 28th congressional district, serving in Congress from 1983 to 2013. The district, numbered as the 26th District from 1983 to 2003, included about half of the San Fernando Valley. Berman is a Democrat.
John James Conyers Jr. is an American politician of the Democratic Party who served as a U.S. Representative for Michigan from 1965 to 2017. He is now retired. The districts he represented always included part of western Detroit. During his final three terms, his district included many of Detroit's western suburbs, as well as a large portion of the Downriver area.
On July 13, 2011, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE) introduced a bill to amend the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 to prohibit peacekeeping operations assistance to countries that recruit and use child soldiers.On February 16, 2017, Rep. Chris Smith (R–NJ) introduced his own amendment to the CSPA, which was cosponsored by four other Representatives: Randy Hultgren (R–IL), Jim McGovern (D–MA), Randy Weber (R–TX), and Frederica Wilson (D–FL).
Peacekeeping refers to activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace. Research generally finds that peacekeeping reduces civilian and battlefield deaths and reduces the risk of renewed warfare.
Randall Mark Hultgren is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 14th congressional district from 2011 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party.
James Patrick McGovern is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 3rd District from 1997 to 2013, stretches from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley.
The CSPA bans the United States from providing military assistance or arms sales to governments that use children in combat, but the president may waive the application of the law for specific countries if it is deemed to be in the national interest.
The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d'État, is a country's goals and ambitions, whether economic, military, cultural or otherwise. The concept is an important one in international relations, where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.
On October 25, 2010, the first waivers were issued for the CSPA by President Barack Obama, which were applied to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen.In a memo sent to Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, Obama said it was in the national interest of the United States to do so. On October 27, senior US officials said that Yemen was exempted because ending military aid would jeopardize the country's ability to fight al-Qaeda. The military of Yemen was suspected of enlisting children as young as 15 and regional militias of enlisting children 14 and older. In Sudan, US military assistance was seen as critical in helping the southern part of the country build military institutions in the event that it voted to secede in the January 2011 referendum. The leaders of the southern region agreed in 2009 to end the use of child soldiers in their forces, but in December of that year, 1,200 children ages 12 to 17 were still in the Sudan People's Liberation Army. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was exempted because US-supported programs were helping its military become more professional and fight rights abuses. Chad was also granted an exception, which was said to be a reward for its role in fighting terrorism and hosting an estimated 280,000 refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan.
Barack Hussein Obama II is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.
Chad, officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in Africa and the second-largest in Central Africa regarding area. "La Tchadienne" is the official anthem of Chad.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, East Congo, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. It is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populous country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populous country in the world. Eastern DR Congo has been the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015.
On October 4, 2011, Obama certified that the government of Chad had implemented measures that include an action plan and actual steps to come into compliance with the CSPA, waived its application for Yemen, and waived in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.According to US National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor, South Sudan was not penalized because it "wasn't a country during the reporting period [of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report] and isn't subject to the CSPA." On September 28, 2012, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, but only in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On September 30, 2013, waivers were issued for Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen, but only partial waivers for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.
On September 30, 2014, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for Rwanda, Somalia, and Yemen, but only waived in part for the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.On September 29, 2015, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Somalia, but only waived in part for South Sudan. On September 28, 2016, Obama waived the application of the law for Iraq, Myanmar, and Nigeria. The CSPA was waived in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow for provision of International Military Education and Training and Peacekeeping Operations assistance to build the country's military's capacity to counter the Lord's Resistance Army and other armed groups. It was also waived in part for Rwanda, Somalia, and South Sudan.
On July 28, 2017, a memo written by about a dozen officials at the United States Department of State said that Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, breached the CSPA when he decided in June to exclude Afghanistan, Iraq, and Myanmar from the list altogether.The memo, which was sent through the Dissent Channel, was sent to Brian Hook, the Director of Policy Planning. On September 1, 2017, Hook responded to the memo by acknowledging that the three countries did use child soldiers but said it was necessary to distinguish between governments "making little or no effort to correct their child soldier violations...and those which are making sincere—if as yet incomplete—efforts."
On September 30, 2017, President Donald Trump waived the application of the CSPA for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan.
Michael Makoto Honda is an American politician and former educator. Initially involved in education in California, he first became active in politics in 1971, when San Jose mayor Norman Mineta appointed Honda to the city's Planning Commission. After holding other positions, Honda was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 1990, and to the California State Assembly in 1996, where he served until 2001. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in Congress from 2001 to 2017.
Charles Albert "Dutch" Ruppersberger III is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 2nd congressional district since 2003. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as an Assistant State Attorney of Maryland from 1972 to 1980, a Baltimore County Councilman from 1985 to 1994 and the Baltimore County Executive from 1994 until 2002. He was the Ranking Member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2011 to 2015.
On Red Hand Day or the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, February 12 each year, pleas are made to political leaders and events are staged around the world to draw attention to child soldiers: children under the age of 18 who participate in military organizations of all kinds. The aim of Red Hand Day is to call for action to stop this practice, and for support for children affected by it.
Major General Patrick Cammaert is a retired Dutch general who served as the United Nations Force Commander for the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was previously the Military Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Prior to that position, he was the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), as the Military Adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and has spent a career in the Royal Netherlands Marines specializing in peacekeeping operations.
William Joseph Posey is an American businessman and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 8th congressional district, in Congress since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. He formerly served in the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives.
The United States Senate career of Barack Obama began on January 3, 2005 and ended on November 16, 2008. He resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate upon being elected President of the United States. Obama won the seat in an election against Alan Keyes who replaced Republican Primary election winner Jack Ryan.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), also known as the Lord's Resistance Movement, is a rebel group and heterodox Christian group which operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Originally known as the United Holy Salvation Army and Uganda Christian Army/Movement, its stated goals include establishment of multi-party democracy, ruling Uganda according to the Ten Commandments, and Acholi nationalism, though in practice "the LRA is not motivated by any identifiable political agenda, and its military strategy and tactics reflect this". It appears to largely function as a personality cult of its leader Joseph Kony, a self-declared prophet whose leadership has earned him the nickname "Africa's David Koresh".
Sudan is a source country for men, women and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country, as well as possibly to Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, for domestic servitude. U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 3" in 2017.
Ann L. McLane Kuster is an American politician, author, and attorney who has been the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, elected in 2012. A lobbyist and non-profit consultant from Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Kuster is a Democrat.
The Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was a 2010 US act of Congress promoted by the Obama administration that makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his Lord's Resistance Army rebellion. According to President Obama "the legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa".
The Central African Republic (CAR) is a source and destination country for children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically various forms of forced labor and forced prostitution. Most child victims are trafficked within the country, but a smaller number move back and forth from Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan. Trafficking offenders, including members of expatriate communities from Nigeria, Sudan, and Chad, as well as transient merchants and herders, subject children to involuntary domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, or forced labor in agriculture, diamond mines, and street vending. The groups most at risk for trafficking are children for forced labor, Ba’aka (Pygmy) minorities for forced agricultural work, and girls for the sex trade in urban centers. The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to abduct and harbor enslaved Sudanese, Congolese, Central African, and Ugandan children in the CAR for use as cooks, porters, and combatants; some of these children are also taken back and forth across borders into Sudan or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced labor and forced prostitution. The majority of this trafficking is internal, and much of it is perpetrated by armed groups and government forces outside government control within the DRC's unstable eastern provinces.
Prostitution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is legal but related activities are prohibited. The Congolese penal code punishes pimping, running a bawdy house or brothel, the exploitation of debauchery or prostitution, as well as forced prostitution. Activities that incite minors or promote the prostitution of others have been criminalised. The government does little to enforce the law. During the colonial era and the years that followed independence, the Ministry of Health issued calling cards identifying professional sex workers and provided them with medical health checks. However, this system was abandoned in the 1980s. Public order laws are sometimes used against sex workers. Street prostitutes report harassment, violence and extortion from the police. UNAIDS estimated there are 2.9 million sex workers in the country.
Prostitution in the Central African Republic is legal and commonplace. Procuring or profiting off the prostitution of others is illegal, as is coercing people into prostitution. Punishment is a fine and up to one year in prison, or 5 years if the case involves a minor.
During the first and second civil conflicts which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), all sides involved in the war actively recruited or conscripted child soldiers, known locally as Kadogos which is a Swahili term meaning "little ones". It has been estimated that the militia led by Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was 30 percent children. In 2011 it was estimated that 30,000 children were still operating with armed groups. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), released a report in 2013 which stated that between 1 January 2012 and 31 August 2013 up to 1,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and described the recruitment of child soldiers as "endemic".
Anderson Drew Ferguson IV is an American dentist and politician who is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 3rd congressional district. The district stretches from the southern suburbs of Atlanta to the northern suburbs of Columbus.
Capital punishment for non-violent offenses is allowed by law in many countries.