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Number of American Girls At Risk of FGM Tripled Since 1990

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The number of women and girls at risk of FGM in the U.S. has tripled since 1990, according to a new report released by the Government Accountability Office on Monday, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk of or had been subjected to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in 2012, a threefold increase from its 1990 estimate,” the Government Accountability Office said in its report.

“CDC attributes this change primarily to increased immigration from countries where FGM/C is practiced, rather than an increase in the occurrence of FGM/C. Agency estimates were not able to distinguish between those who have already been subjected to FGM/C and those who are at risk," the report continued.

Female genital mutilation is illegal in the United States. The State Department considers it a form of gender-based violence.

"While [female genital mutilation/cutting] FGM/C is a crime under federal and many state laws, law enforcement officials identified few investigations and prosecutions related to FGM/C,” the report added. “Officials said that this may be due, in part, to underreporting."

"Existing federal efforts to increase awareness should be improved" the report stated.

Read the full report here.

There are four main types of female genital mutilation of increasing levels of severity. The practice is most common in Somalia and Egypt where the vast majority of the female population has undergone the practice.

Clarion Project previously interviewed Molly Melching, the head of Tostan, an organization in Senegal which has had great success in altering cultural practices of female genital mutilation by winning the trust of local communities.

For more information see Clarion Project's Factsheet: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org