Charity workers say that midwives are being jetted into Britain specifically to carry out female genital mutilation (FGM), which is banned in the UK, in specially arranged ‘parties’ to subject a number of girls to the ordeal at the same time.
The Black Health Initiative (BHI), which operates in Leeds, said that it had been made aware that girls across the country were being subjected to terrifying illegal procedures. Its claims were backed up by other women’s health charities who said they had also heard about FGM events taking place.
BHI CEO Heather Nelson said that she was aware that “specialist midwives are now flown over and several girls are cut at the same time, which then leads to a celebration.” The procedure, which is recognised internationally as a breach of human rights, involves the partial or total removal or injury to female genitalia for reasons which are non-medical.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 200 million females across the globe have been impacted. The practice mainly happens in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The BHI said that it had broken up one such ‘party’ in West Yorkshire and had prevented a second from taking place, while police officers in West Yorkshire confirmed by were aware that FGM was happening in the area.
Last year, 5,700 new cases of FGM were recorded in England. Most of them happened elsewhere before girls were brought back into the country, while 18 were said to have actually taken place in the UK. Out of the 18 cases known about in the UK, 11 girls had been born in the UK. The most common age for girls to have procedures was between five and nine.
The practice has been outlawed in Britain since 1985 and three years ago, a law from brought in to make it illegal to take a girl from Britain to have FGM abroad.