A report release by researchers at Tilburg University in the Netherlands found that around 25,000 to 30,000 children were kidnapped and held for ransom by senior military officers with the Eritrea’s military between 2007 and 2012.
According to the report, all students in Eritrea are required to serve at a military camp in order to graduate from high school. At the camp, children between 16 to 17 years old would be kidnapped by military officers. While in captivity, the officers would call the victims family to demand a ransom. According to interviews conducted with survivors, the soldiers would demand a ransom payment of $7,500 to release the victim. If the families were unable to pay the ransom demand, then the military would sell the children to Bedouin traffickers.
In total, the researchers estimate that up to $600 Million in ransom have been paid out to the military.
Source: Martin Plaut, “Eritrea’s military is trafficking the nation’s children, report says,” Guardian, December 3, 2013.