Causes, Consequences and the Way Forward
© Copyright 2012
Dalhousie Marine Piracy Project
Cover photo credit:
UN Photo/Tobin Jones
This report should be cited as:
Whitman, S., Williamson, H., Sloan M., & Fanning, L. (2012). Dalhousie
Marine Piracy Project: Children and Youth in Marine Piracy - Causes,
Consequences and the Way Forward. (Marine Affairs Program Technical
Aeneas Campbell, The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
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The Rights of the Child
Children and Youth Pirates
Criminal Employment of Children
Child Pirates and International Law
Prosecution of Young Offenders
“Worst Form of Child Labour”
Implications of Youth Involvement in Piracy
According to the Failed States Index Data 2011, created by the Fund for Peace
Organization, 6 countries most affected by piratical activity fall within the top
15 most fragile states. This includes Somalia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Pakistan,
Yemen and Nigeria. Piracy is not the main factor as to why these countries are fragile, at the same time, not all fragile littoral states have marine piracy.
However, this does demonstrate the importance of looking at the broader social, political and economic environment that enables piracy.
Understanding the human factors associated with piracy activity and the root causes is critical to the development of solutions to address piracy.
The Dalhousie Marine Piracy Project (DMPP) has undertaken such an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to addressing the problem of contemporary piracy and its impact on the shipping and coastal communities.
In so doing, it comprehensively examined the four interdependent themes of
Law and Governance, Socio-Economic, Operational Responses, and
Information Management; assessed current literature on the topic of contemporary marine piracy; and, through analysis of that work, highlighted potential areas for policy development and implementation.
Piracy appears to develop where weak or non-existent government and enforcement capabilities, impoverished coastal communities, and shipping targets exist in relatively close proximity. Other elements such as organized criminality, youth unemployment, political conflict and even natural disasters may also contribute to the likelihood of piracy emerging as a major threat to shipping in a particular region. The DMPP has examined the economic, political and social conditions, which have led to contemporary outbreaks of piracy with the intention of identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of current and proposed responses to piracy.
This paper highlights an important and growing issue identified from the
DMPP research. Of deep concern is the increasing evidence that children and youth are being recruited by piracy gangs with little recognition among those responsible for addressing piracy and the complexities this introduces. For this particular problem, however, it is important to note that systematic collection of data on this matter does not currently exist and as such, it has been difficult to conduct a clear, evidenced-based assessment of the situation.
As such, three key objectives of this paper are: (i) to raise the awareness of the failure to address the question of the involvement of children and youth by those involved in either studying or addressing piracy and (ii) to provide a rationale for the collection and accessibility of disaggregated data on those