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Child Soldiers in Mexico and Sierra Leone

            Political unrest and instability in many third world countries not only impact the everyday lives of adults. Sadly, it has an extreme effect on innocent children. Two examples of this horrific occurrence are evidenced in the drug cartel wars of Mexico and the civil unrest in Sierra Leone. Factors that led these children to become child soldiers include lack of education, social conflicts, and socioeconomic status. .
             Previous to their recruitment, the children in both of the noted countries had minimal opportunities to attend school and get an education. While both countries have education laws that require obligatory school attendance, the enforcement of the law was very lenient. In Sierra Leone, because of the civil war destruction, many schools were ruined and inoperable. Teachers were scarce and those who were still available often required students to help plant and harvest their crops during class time. This resulted in little class time for actual learning. Education problems in Mexico were different. Many children were not motivated to attend school and became street kids. Others, due to their family situation, were unable to attend because they had to assist in making a living for their family. .
             Political corruption was intense in both countries. Rebel armies in Sierra Leone and drug warlords in Mexico have challenged organized government. Besides government corruption, Sierra Leone's conflict has been associated with the exploitation of their diamond mines. Leaders of the rebel army were using the diamonds for personal benefit and to fund the civil war in hopes of overturning the government. The fuel for chaos in Mexico is more closely related to the drugs cartel's desire for sole ownership of the drug turf. The cartel that can accomplish this would be the most powerful and richest. Sole ownership is not easily attained when other gangs are profiting from the same products. Additional manpower is necessary to eliminate the competition.

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