The terrorist group ISIS is targeting unaccompanied child refugees to join its ranks, according to a new study by the Quilliam Foundation.
“Groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram recruit using financial incentives within refugee camps and work with smugglers and traffickers to facilitate the journey to asylum,” the report reads.
The youths are being recruited on migration routes to Europe, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. ISIS is paying up to $2,000 to entice these young refugees who are in desperate need for food and money.
“Children and young people who are recruited and trafficked by ISIS are an important resource, as they allow the group to convey a sense of future for itself as a state,” the report reads.
Besides money, the group is offering the refugees something else they are desperately seeking.
“While some refugees may have to pay smugglers up to $560 for passage towards the Mediterranean coast, IS, capitalizing on this route, offers free passage to those willing to join IS. IS is able to provide a degree of security. The financial lure is ever-present on the refugee journey — to those reaching the Mediterranean coast, IS offers potential recruits up to $1,000 to join the organization,” the report reads.
This has proven to be a successful recruitment technique. ISIS takes advantage of the children who are helpless.
“That’s actually incredibly effective when a young person has been separated from their family and they’re just trying to get by day to day,” said Nikita Malik, Quilliam senior researcher and co-author of the report, to The Independent. “ISIS [is] able to fill those basic services.”
ISIS focuses on the youth not only because they are impressable and vulnerable, but also because it secures the group’s future for years to come.
The Quilliam Foundation created an extensive database of the propaganda used by ISIS to indoctrinate members.
“Far Right groups used the majority of refugee propaganda to incite ‘fear’ and increase the ‘otherisation’ of refugees based on the threat of them ‘invading’ the West or carrying out sexual abuse of women and children,” the report reads. “The most dominant theme Islamist extremist groups use in propaganda to refugees was ‘preaching’, in groups and in isolation, calling them to wage jihad against non-believers.”
Between January and September of 2015, 340 unaccompanied children went missing and never were found.
“Some run away for the fear of not being granted asylum, others fall victim to abduction, trafficking, sexual and economic exploitation and extremist groups,” the report reads. “The risks of radicalization begin in early recruitment strategies preying on short-term vulnerabilities and immediate needs of those trapped in conflict zones, and persist into the journey itself.”
Fortunately, President Donald Trump has introduced a detailed plan to defeat ISIS. In one of his speeches prior to being elected he blamed Obama’s foreign policy for the rise of the terrorist group.
“In short, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has unleashed ISIS, destabilized the Middle East, and put the nation of Iran – which chants ‘Death to America’ 58 – in a dominant position of regional power and, in fact, aspiring to be a dominant world power,” said Trump.
Already, Trump has offered more support to the efforts against ISIS by sending armored vehicles to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF,) a military group fighting against ISIS in Syria. This was much more than previously given by the Obama administration.