Child recruitment and use by armed forces is one of the gravest violations that Yemeni children fall victim to as Yemen has been witnessing wars and armed conflicts for several years. This phenomenon emerged in Yemen since the era of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, when the Ministry of Defense started to accept children under the age of 15 years old into their ranks. Tribal sheikhs also sent their children to war to secure their monthly salaries the government paid at the time. However, this phenomenon significantly diminished after pressures imposed on the Saleh regime, especially after Yemen had signed several international child rights agreements.
On the other hand, armed groups in Yemen, especially the Houthis, sought to recruit children to reinforce their capabilities. The Houthis have been exploiting child soldiers since they waged a war against the Hajour al-Sham tribes in Hajjah Governorate in early 2012; their war on the Dammaj area in Saada governorate in 2013; and at a greater pace, in 2014, after they seized power in Yemen and the battles expanded. The Houthis have used complex patterns to forcibly recruit these children and use them in hostilities and compensate for their losses during the battles against the Yemeni government forces and the Arab coalition forces led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.