Representatives from Haringey Council, Police, and health services have been called on by the local MP to discuss an integrated strategy to protect local girls from FGM.
The practice is prevalent in countries like Somalia and Egypt, but also affects girls in the UK. Most commonly, young girls are sent abroad to be ‘cut.’ It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM.
It is illegal to arrange for a child to be taken abroad for FGM. If caught, offenders face a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
The Liberal Democrat MP is also a minister in the Department for International Development, and the ministerial champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. Ending FGM within a generation is one of her top priorities.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented
“Over the last few months I have met with Haringey Council, the Borough Commander and local health representatives. All have shown a great willingness to fight FGM in Haringey. Now, I want to bring everyone together to discuss a truly integrated strategy. That’s why I have called this roundtable meeting.
“Late April to July is usually the time when girls are sent abroad to be cut – so there really is no time to lose. FGM is a crime and it is child abuse – and everyone needs to work together to tackle the problem.
“As minister for International Development, I have made ending this awful practice within a generation one of my top priorities. We will not see an end to FGM in the UK unless the practice is eliminated worldwide – but we need to tackle it on the ground here, too.”