The impact of modern warfare on children is staggering. During the 1990s, as a consequence of war,
- approximately 2,000,000 children were killed;
- over 4,000,000 children were disabled;
- over 10,000,000 children were psychologically traumatized;
- over 1,000,000 children were orphaned;
- approximately 20,000,000 children were displaced; and
- 300,000 children were forced to serve armies as soldiers, spies, sex slaves, and more.
On May 25, 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict to outlaw military recruitment and the employment in combat of those under eighteen. The Optional Protocol entered into force on 12 February 2002.
Although the United States has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is a signatory and thus is eligible to be a party to the Optional Protocol. In fact, the U.S. ratified the Optional Protocol on 23 December 2002.