There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). In 2016 several armed groups continued to abduct and forcibly recruit men, women and children as combatants and in support roles such as guards, cleaners, cooks and spies. In 2016, 184 cases of child soldiers were reported, with 1,662 children reported to have separated or escaped from armed groups. Child soldiers who manage to escape remain vulnerable to re-recruitment as adequate rehabilitation services remain unavailable to children suffering trauma, stigmatisation and the continued threat of armed groups.
Safi was a 17 year old girl living with her adult husband when she was forced
I was living in Camp Sowe with my husband who was a Mayi Mayi combatant, I had no choice and I had to follow him to the forest. I went through initiation rates to protect me from bullets in case of an attack by FARDC. I didn’t do anything in the group except take care of my husband.
Narrative provided by MONUSCO in their report ‘Invisible Survivors: Girls in Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2009 to 2015’