Carolyn Nordstrom argues that millions of girl-youths are affected by political violence taking place in the world today, yet less is known about what happens to girls in war zones than to any other segment of the population. This ‘invisibility’ is not an accident, but relates to the many ‘wars’ children encounter on the frontlines. Girls suffer the assaults of war, and in addition face the escalating levels of sexual and domestic violence, poverty and social dislocation that war brings. As well, they may be preyed on by international criminal rackets exploiting the invisibility of poor girls in war zones for illegal sexual, domestic and industrial labour – the tragic underbelly of development that generates billions of dollars annually. And in an enduring irony, young girls working in informal subsistence trade are able to survive, yet their work produces financial assets for adult ‘business people’. Solutions rest with making visible girls' realities, and the links between wartime and peacetime profiteering across legal and illegal development schemes. Development (2001) 44, 30–35. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1110258
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