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Hello! My name is Sara Ford, and I am going to be your head chair for this year’s UNICEF committee at LAIMUN XIV. I am a senior at Mira Costa High School and I’ve been in Model UN since my freshman year. I have traveled to Montreal, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and many high school debates in my MUN career. I have found that MUN has taught me many things, including leadership, intelligence, and passion. Outside of MUN I’m the section leader in the band and orchestra playing the French horn. I also enjoy playing tennis and soccer and I’m very interested in Biochemistry. If this is your first conference, I hope that this committee will be an enriching learning experience that will set you on a path to success in MUN. If this isn’t your first conference, I plan to surpass your expectations as a chair and make this a wonderful occurrence. Since one of our topics can be explicit, I’m warning the delegates of this committee now: Any joking or immaturity during committee will not be tolerated. This topic is real and this committee is mimicking actual discussions that go on, so the dais will not tolerate any infantile behavior. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Hi! My name is Sarah Weiner. I am a junior at Mira Costa, and I will be your Vice Chair. This is my third year of Model UN. Although I have been to many conferences, I have often been in the UNICEF committee, and have debated Child Soldiers at UCLA. Besides Model UN, I participate in swimming after school, and I am Vice President of Key Club. Child Soldiers is a very interesting topic, and I look foreword to hearing your solutions to this issue. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at

Topic One: Child Soldiers
Background The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) defines Child Soldiers as "any child- boy or girl- under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity". Today, millions of these child soldiers who exist throughout the world, serve in both national and rebel armies. Children are often targeted for military recruitment because they are emotionally and physically vulnerable. Due to poverty and other social causes, many children sign up for conscription voluntarily, believing it to be one of the few ways they can make money and be provided with food. Others are "press-ganged" or

abducted by militia groups, and forced to serve. Children are often abducted at school or in the streets. Once in the army, children perform a variety of tasks. These are not limited simply to armed combat. Children often play the role of servants, spies, messengers, or they are used to clear landmine fields. Girls are also used as sex slaves. Child soldiers are more likely to be used during prolonged conflicts, in which they are used to replenish soldiers. The availability of lightweight weapons also makes it easy for child soldiers to use. During war times, the declining economy and value of life causes even more children to volunteer for the army. Due to their involvement in the army, child soldiers do not receive an education. They are also taught extreme obedience by the officials in the militia groups whom they serve. Even after they are brought out of the army, many children and young adults return because it is the only viable way for them to make money. UN Involvement The United Nations first began to combat the problem of child soldiers in the 1997 Additional Protocol to the Four Geneva Conventions. It stated that the minimum age for children in combat was fifteen. It asked countries to ensure that children under fifteen are not in combat, and allowed children under the age of eighteen to volunteer for the army. This document however was not very successful, for many children as young as eight are still being taken into the army. One issue is that in developing countries, many children do not have birth certificates; therefore it is impossible to prove they are too young to serve in the army. In 1989, the United Nations passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, defining a child as a human being under the age of eighteen, and once again stated that a child soldier's age should be at least fifteen. It also called for parental consent and proof of age when a child

volunteers for the army. The document also asked countries to submit annual reports on their progress in implementing the protocol. However, the United Nations’ efforts to protect these children have been very slow going, and in some cases, not effective. Many NGOs have worked to help stop the use of child soldiers. These include the Human Rights Watch, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, and many other NGOs who work to raise awareness and money on the issue of child soldiers. The Coalition, a program that is part of the Human Rights Watch organization, both monitor and advocate the problem of child soldiers, and partners with Amnesty International, Defense for Children International, and many others. Possible Solutions When trying to tackle the problem of child soldiers, solutions should be focused in three areas: prevention, demobilization, and rehabilitation. Countries should focus on trying to fix the causes of child soldiers, while also proposing solutions that try to demobilize the soldiers, and help those children who must restart their life after leaving the army. Please try to come up with new, original solutions to combat this problem. Some questions to consider are: 1. How can the UN effectively monitor and control the amount of child soldiers in the army? 2. What other options can be given to children who feel that the army is their only means of survival? 3. What can be done for the countries that must use child soldiers because of a lack of adult militants?

Block Positions Africa Block: These countries have the most child soldiers, and often need them when crisis in the region are drawn out. These countries may want to focus on ways to ensure that the minimum age is ensured, and that there is a viable way to find out a child's age. Asia/Middle Eastern Block: These countries have also been known to use child soldiers. They may want to focus on reforming the use of child soldiers in their countries. European Block: These countries do not use child soldiers in armed conflicts. Many believe that children under eighteen should not serve in military groups. These countries may want to look for solutions that take steps to eventually eradicate child soldiers, while still keeping in mind more developing countries. Latin American Block: Many countries in this area have been known to use child soldiers. They also may want to focus on re-integrating their ex-child soldiers back into society, as well as trying to reform the use of child soldiers. Useful Links ml

Topic Two: Child Prostitution
Background: Child prostitution is defined by the UNICEF CRC as “the practice whereby a child is used by others for sexual activities in return for remuneration or any other form of consideration”. Child prostitution usually entails that someone other than the child is benefiting from the exploitation. This could be in money form, such as a pimp who rents the child out to customers, or it could be abusive, where someone takes advantage of the child without the child’s consent. An estimated one million children, both boys and girls, enter the sex-trade every year all over the world. No country is without child prostitution. Economic difficulties, civil unrest, poverty, and displacement of refugees all contribute to the growth of all forms of child prostitution. Many children are forced into the profession because their parents have no other way to make money or support their children. So the children are sent off to care for themselves and send money home periodically to help their families. However, sometimes children are forgotten about altogether and are left to pimps and brothels. The lack of birth certificates is an issue in these situations. Child prostitution varies in its forms. Some children have sex in exchange for money, food, clothing, or housing. Others have been trafficked into the situation. Some have been sold by their own families into the profession. One unique situation, found in countries such as Germany and Japan, is when the children are part of an organization that rents them out as sex dates, like a dating service. Many courses can be taken under the topic of child prostitution. Child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, and child pornography have to be considered along with general prostitution. It is a

multi-faceted problem that needs a dynamic solution matrix. Past UN Action: The Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC)’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography outlined specific guidelines for States to follow to end the child sex trade, also child trafficking in general. It provides for special punishments for the criminals, who include both those who force the children to provide the services and those who accept the services. In 1999 the ILO adopted the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Articles 34 and 35 force a country after signing to eliminate and prevent all the child prostitution and pornography in their country. Nearly all the members of the United Nations ratified this document. Bloc Positions: European/Western Bloc: Although these countries have some child prostitution problems, it is often the inhabitants of these countries that engage in child sex tourism. Delegates should work to involve their countries in the tourist countries to prevent this act from happening. Since many countries in this bloc are first world countries, funding should not be a problem and it is encouraged that some money be used to aid other countries. However, this does not mean that these countries can neglect their domestic issues either. African Bloc: Poverty is the root of all problems in most African nations. Delegates should focus on economic solutions to end child prostitution. Refugees are also a problem in many countries. Most of the countries have little to no urban life, so many of the children involved in the sex industry are unaccounted for and are permanent sex slaves. These nations also have dismal documentation systems, so missing children aren’t noticed often.

Middle Eastern Bloc: The subject of child prostitution is very sensitive in these nations, leaving the exploitation of children a dangerous underground business. Law assistance is hazy and both victims and criminals find it hard to get a legal consult. Family values and social standards often come in between children and their justice. They are taught to be silent and not bother anyone, so children will easily slip into an abusive situation without any aid. Female genital mutilation also comes into play during child abuse in this region. Asian Bloc: These countries are most famous for their child prostitution because child sex tourism became so pronounced in the past 10 years. Poverty is a huge issue here too, because many children are sold off to pimps at a young age because of family economics. Large population also comes into play, because it is very hard to track where the pimps are located in crowded urban areas. Possible Solutions: This website may be helpful in figuring out your country’s position: *Since I have given you this resource, countries that are off-policy will not be tolerated. * Here are some tips:   Look for solutions that are economically sound. Also look for grassroots solutions that hit the problem at its root. This would involve already existing NGOs and other such organizations that have gained international trust.  Here are some questions you should be looking to answer: 1. How will the children be taken out of the sex industry? 2. Are the punishments outlined by the CRC harsh enough? Are they properly enforced?

3. What will the children do once out of the trade? 4. How should child trafficking be stopped? If you need any help understanding these questions feel free to email your solution ideas to me to see if you’re on the right track. Research: ageId=1498

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