In the West, girls and women are often taken to their countries of origin during school holidays, aka the cutting season, in order to be mutilated.
It is now encountered in immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States.
Between 150,000-200,000 girls in the U.S. are at risk of being forced to undergo FGM.
Performing FGM in the US is illegal. It is also illegal in ten European countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Canada and Australia have also outlawed the practice.
There are approximately 500,000 women and girls living with FGM in the European Union.
Communities often arrange FGM to be performed collectively, mutilating all the girls of a community together in so called 'cutting parties.' Sometimes a 'cutter' might be flown in from abroad.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was herself cut as a child, has been at the forefront of the campaign against FGM in Holland, Europe and the U.S. both while she sat in Dutch parliament, and with her organization the AHA Foundation.