KiDS: Inside the Terror Factory (working title) is a documentary film that will explore and expose the complex topic of the exploitation of children by extremists. Kids will give voice to voiceless children abroad and in the United States, and start an urgently needed conversation about the growing problem of child indoctrination and incitement.
Childhood is supposed to be a sacred time of innocence. A time to grow and play, to explore and learn about the world. All children should have a peaceful upbringing and the opportunity to pursue a meaningful life. But today, radical regimes and organizations are systematically indoctrinating the next generation of kids to embrace violence and hatred. At best, these children internalize toxic values and become full of hate. At worst, they become terrorists themselves. Turning kids into terrorists is a horrifying violation of their human rights as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation.”
Principle 9, UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child
Terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah are creating poisonous childhood environments that celebrate and encourage violence. Their tactics range from threats, force, and intimidation to more subtle brainwashing through the media and school systems. These methods of indoctrination are severe forms of emotional and physical child abuse. Regardless of the methodology used, the end result is the same: they are raising a generation of kids who believe that the West is their enemy and must be destroyed.
This radicalization is also happening at home, in the United States. Extremists are using new methods, such as social media, to reach a broader audience and lure Western teenagers into joining terrorist organizations. According to the FBI, there are currently ISIS-related investigations in all 50 states, and more than 30% of the Americans charged with ISIS-related activities are under the age of 20.
KiDS will feature compelling personal stories of children and their families who are being actively influenced by extremists, and will showcase activists and experts who are working to confront this growing global threat. The film is currently in production.
Children cannot advocate for themselves. We have a collective responsibility to speak out and protect vulnerable and exploited children worldwide. By giving children and activists a platform to tell their stories, we empower people to challenge extremism and engage in productive dialogue and action.