Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups

Chair, Cecilia Polizzi

Working Group on Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups

For more information, please contact Cecelia Polizzi

Tel. +49 15225679548


The development of terrorism throughout the 20th and 21st centuries has been characterized by the increasing involvement of children. Children recruited and exploited by terrorist groups are victims of violence at multiple levels. Violence experienced during enlistment includes ferocious recruitment methods, enslavement, sexual exploitation and threat. The malleability to indoctrination, enhances the vulnerability of children as targets for coercion or induction by other means to involve in criminal offenses, including acts of terrorism, war crimes or crimes against the humanity.

The criminalization of child conduct may lead to a secondary victimization within the justice system as in conjunction with the absence of effective mechanisms of rehabilitation, it fails to address children as victims. The Working Group on Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups is established within the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and in support of its ends. Its purpose is to create a functional platform for civil society engagement in the prevention of violence against children and recruitment and exploitation by terrorist groups as well as prioritize and strengthen United Nations and UN Member States activities regarding the issue.

The report of the CRTG for the year 2018-2019.



The Working Group on Children Recruited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups (hereinafter, the “CRTG”) has been established within the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (hereinafter, “CPCJ Alliance”), CoNGO Committee to the
United Nations in New York City.

Since November 2018, the CRTG has proactively supported the CPCJ Alliance purposes and ends, including the promotion of policies that foster the development of effective and transparent crime prevention and criminal justice strategies, a continuous encouragement for international cooperation and multidisciplinary approaches, a commitment to advocate respect for the dignity and rights of victims of crime and abuse of power and those in conflict with the law, and the advancement of the protection and restoration of the well-being of all persons and communities affected by crime.

The CRTG has built on the role of the CPCJ Alliance in supporting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Economic and Social Council and United Nations Member States in the areas of crime, terrorism prevention and criminal justice. The CRTG has formed as a coalition of I/NGOs, institutions and international experts involved in the fight against the recruitment and use of children by terrorist and violent extremist groups and it serves as a cross-sectoral platform connecting United Nations Member States, United Nations agencies, professionals, practitioners, and the broad civil society to enhance coordination in the prevention, rehabilitation and social reintegration efforts.

The CRTG is a conveyer to strengthen civil society action in the protection of children and in the prevention and countering of terrorism and violent extremism and it builds capacity of such actors to devise effective, solution-oriented strategies.

Together with its growing network, the CRTG develops and delivers research, advisory and advocacy and it has laid the foundation to become the go-to platform where public, non-profit and private sector leaders cooperate to develop and implement solutions to impact
against this grave phenomenon.

Cecilia Polizzi
Working Group on Children recruited by Terrorist and violent Extremist Groups
Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice


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