The Abduction and Return Experience of Youth

  • Citation: Annan, Jeannie, and Chris Blattman. “The Abduction and Return Experience of Youth.” The Survey of War Affected Youth 1 (2006).
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • Sub-Saharan Africa war affected youth
    • youth abductions
    • patterns
    • soldiering

Based on reports of approximately 20,000 children passing through reception centers, the UN has estimated that at least 25,000 children have been abducted. Counting the abducted is a difficult task, at best an exercise in educated guesswork. Survey evidence from SWAY, however, suggests a more accurate estimate may be at least 66,000 youth between the ages of 13 and 30. Without including those abducted for less than a week, survey responses from eight sub-counties suggests that only half of male returnees passed through a reception center. Moreover, we estimate one fifth of males never returned. Finally, at least one quarter of abducted youth are not children but between 18 and 30. These figures suggest that for every 3 children in the official count, 10 youth were actually abducted. Such higher numbers seem consistent with the high proportion of youth ever reporting an abduction—a third of males and a sixth of females. The emphasis on abducted you h is important, as our evidence suggests that young adults are underserved by NGOs . This is an alarming fact as young adults may be more impacted by the war than children (a topic for a future research brief).

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