London, April 23 2012, by Pamela Owen, Dalily Mail
As many as 100,000 women in Britain have undergone female genital mutilations 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 secretly filmed a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner who were allegedly willing to perform circumcisions 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.
Known as ‘cutting’, the procedure is traditionally carried out for cultural reasons and in Africa and with large numbers of immigration from countries like Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia it is becoming more common in the UK.
It is believed to be proof of a girl’s ‘purity’ for when she marries, but victims often suffer in silence and are rarely given anaesthetic.
They frequently suffer long-term damage and pain and often struggle to stand or walk properly.
Supermodel turned UN ambassador Waris Dirie was mutilated aged 5
Research suggests that every year up to 6,000 girls in London are at risk of the potentially fatal procedure, and more than 22,000 in the UK as a whole.
The Metropolitan Police said since 2008, it had received 166 reports of people who fear they are at risk of FGM but it has failed to bring forward a single perpetrator.
It is the same for all 43 forces across England and Wales with no convictions for the offence ever taking place.
Only two doctors have ever been struck off by The General Medical Council since 1980.
The Sunday Times uncovered a respected dentist who was prepared to circumcise two girls, aged 10 and 13 and a GP who referred an undercover reporter to the dentist.
They also spoke to a supplier who deals in alternative medicine who offered to circumcise a 10 year-old girl for £750.
A midwife in Birmingham also said she had seen the number of mutilations in the area treble since 2002.
Alison Byrne, a specialist midwife at the Birmingham’s Heartlands hospital who has helped pioneer treatment for women suffering from the condition said she has had patients aged between 16 and 40.
She said she had some women who had been left with an opening the size of a matchstick through which to pass urine and menstrual blood.
Ms Byrne added that as a result many of the women developed severe infections and can continuously bleed for days on end.
- Journalist who wrote about female genital mutilation (FGM) forced into hiding (kractivist.wordpress.com)