[22 April 2012] - As many as 100,000 women in Britain have undergone female genital mutilations (FGM) with medics in the UK offering to carry out the illegal procedure on girls as young as 10, it has been reported.
Investigators from the Sunday Times said they had secretly filmed a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner who were allegedly willing to perform FGM or arrange for the operation to be carried out. The doctor and dentist deny any wrongdoing.
The practice, which involves the surgical removal of external genitalia and in some cases the stitching of the vaginal opening, is illegal in Britain and carries up to a 14-year prison sentence. It is also against the law to arrange FGM.
The procedure is widespread across parts of Africa. Victims are rarely given anaesthetic and frequently suffer long-term damage and pain.
Research suggests that every year more than 22,000 girls in the UK and up to 6,000 in London are at risk of the potentially fatal procedure.
The Metropolitan police said that since 2008 it had received 166 reports of people who feared they were at risk of FGM. Across all 43 forces in England and Wales, no one has ever been convicted of the offence, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper added that only two doctors had been struck off by the General Medical Council since 1980.
According to Forward, a charity which campaigns against FGM, an estimated 100,000 women in the UK have undergone mutilation.
The model Waris Dirie, who was mutilated as a child, is a vociferous opponent of the practice.
Calling for a crackdown on FGM, she said: "If a white girl is abused, the police come break down the door. If a black girl is mutilated, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism."
- CALL FOR INFORMATION on Harmful Traditional Practices
- SURVEY: Youth Research on Attitudes towards Female Genital Mutilation
- KENYA: Legislation failing to curb FGM/C (3 June 2011)
- ETHIOPIA: Pastoralists battling FGM/C (26 January 2011)
- MAURITANIA: Fatwa alone will not stop FGM/C (29 January 2010)
- AFRICA: Holistic approaches key to ending FGM/C - study (18 November 2010)
- EUROPE: Ending FGM - a strategy for the EU Institutions (Amnesty International, April 2010)
- New 'medial' trend with FGM disturbs UN agency (6 February 2007)
- Muslim leaders join battle against female circumcision (8 December 2006)
- CRIN's Forms of Violence page on **Harmful traditional practices**