Glossary of Key Terms

Armed groups: Grupos armados

  • A group of people with an organised power structure who bear arms and engage in hostilities as a non-State actor, and therefore, illegally (Exploring Humanitarian Law Glossary).

CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children): ESCNNA (Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes)

  • The exploitation by an adult with respect to a child or an adolescent – female or male – under 18 years old; accompanied by a payment in money or in kind to the child or adolescent (male or female) or to one or more third parties. Examples of this are: 
  • The use of girls and boys in sexual activities remunerated in cash or in kind (commonly known as child prostitution) in the streets or indoors, in such places as brothels, discotheques, massage parlours, bars, hotels, restaurants, etc.
  • The trafficking of girls and boys and adolescents for the sex trade
  • child sex tourism
  • The production, promotion and distribution of pornography involving children
  • The use of children in sex shows (public or private.) (International Labour Organization).

CYP (Children and Young People): NNAJ (Niños, Niñas, Adolescentes y Jóvenes)

  • A child is considered any person under the age of 18 (Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) whilst young people or youth are considered those ranging from 15-24 (General Assembly (see A/36/215 and resolution 36/28, 1981) and International Youth Year (1985). We include both of these groups to support children and the years into adulthood, which is important for those whose childhoods have been impacted by the issues that we address at CCC 

Forced Labour: Trabajo forzado 

  • Forced labour can be understood as work that is performed involuntarily and under the menace of any penalty. It refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities (International Labour Organization).

Forced recruitment into armed groups: Reclutamiento forzado.

  • When a person joins an armed group (definition above) involuntarily. This may be through coercion, abduction, manipulation, bribery, blackmail, or as a means of survival. Regardless of the reason for the recruitment or the role within the armed group, children recruitment is a grave humanitarian and child rights violation (UNICEF).

Girls and boys disengaged from armed groups: Menor desvinculado

  • Children (anyone under the age of 18) that are no longer associated with armed groups and have disengaged from all activity in relation to armed groups. We also support those who are now adults but were children when engaged with armed groups. 

Why we do not use the term ‘child soldier’

  • The term child soldier invokes some misconceptions about what the role entails: 
  1. it assumes that all children associated with armed groups are armed and fighting – many actually take on household chores, are used for sexual exploitation or for sending messages or spying
  2. it limits most people’s image of a child solider to boys – when in fact up to 40% of children associated with armed groups are girls 
  3. most people think of child soldiers as only being an African phenomenon – it is thought that CAAGs are currently active in Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, India, Iraq, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand and Yemen (Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007).

‘A child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes’ (Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007)

Girls and boys who are victims of forced recruitment

  • To make visible the differentiated damage that occurred against the recruited girls by mentioning them separately from boys, since “other violations of rights were propitiated with the recruitment activity, such as sexual violence and slavery, planning and forced abortions of which girls were the main victims” (Special Jurisdiction for Peace. Auto No 029 de 2019 “Se avoca conocimiento del Reclutamiento y utilización de niñas y niños en el conflicto armado como un caso priorizado por la Sala, Caso No. 007”.)

Neglected Issues: problemáticas desatendidas

  • We focus on three ‘neglected issues’ at CCC which we have chosen for two reasons: because they pose a serious threat to children’s rights and wellbeing, and because not enough work is being done to counter the harm they caused. You can read more about these issues on our ‘What we do’ section.

Trans and/or non-binary: Persona con orientación y/o identidad de género diversa (Term used by the Constitutional Court of Colombia – Sentencia T-443/20)

Non-binary: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely (Stonewall).

Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, non gender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman,trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois (Stonewall).

Victims: Víctimas 

  • A person who has been hurt, harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action or who has suffered because of the actions of someone else (Oxford British and World English Dictionary; Cambridge Advanced Dictionary and Thesaurus). When using this term we are not referring to how these children view themselves, but simply recognising that they have experienced one of the aforementioned examples. ‘Victim’ is also recognised in law and this identifier gives specific status and rights in different contexts of our work.

Other useful language and definition resources: 

Exploring Humanitarian Law Glossary

Ecpat Terminology Guidelines 

Weekly Newsletter

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