An Examination of IGOs and NGOs Understanding of Children’s Involvement in Somali Piracy Networks and their Land-Based Responses

  • Elizabeth Ann Norman

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Current estimates suggest that one-third of apprehended Somali piracy suspects are children under the age of eighteen, who are pushed into piracy due to fragility and insecurity onshore. Beyond their involvement at sea, children occupy land-based roles in piracy networks. Yet, there is little research into the involvement of children in piracy networks and what does exist focuses on how to treat those who are apprehended for piracy at sea, with little attention paid to the land-based context in which children join pirate groups, nor the shore-based roles they may occupy.

    The aim of this thesis is to address this gap, by investigating the involvement of children in piracy networks from the context of human insecurity onshore, and the attempts that have been made to proactively address this issue on land. This is achieved through original qualitative research that examines how IGOs and NGOs working in Somalia have understood the involvement of children in piracy and how this influenced their land-based programme and policy response between 2009-2018.

    By examining the involvement of children in piracy networks from the context of human insecurity onshore, this thesis identifies the various roles children occupy within piracy networks and considers how such involvement may be proactively addressed on land, thereby providing a more holistic understanding of the issue. The findings show that both boys and girls are engaging with piracy groups, mainly in land-based roles, due to a lack of opportunity and alternatives onshore. As such, not only do the findings contribute towards a better understanding of the interrelationship between child piracy and human insecurity onshore, but they show how future attempts to counter the child piracy problem may be better achieved by addressing these land-based drivers.
    Date of Award2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorIoannis Chapsos (Supervisor), David Curran (Supervisor) & David McIlhatton (Supervisor)

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