Medics in the UK have carried out illegal genital mutilation procedure on 100,000 women in Britain, a new report claims. Some of the victims are as young as 10.
According to The Telegraph, Sunday Times investigators say they secretly filmed a doctor, a dentist and an alternative medicine practitioner allegedly willing to perform the illegal procedure or arrange for it to be done. According to the Sunday Times, investigators met a "respected dentist " who agreed to circumcise two girls aged 10 and 13. A GP referred the undercover reporters to the dentist. The investigators also met a "supplier" who is an alternative medicine practitioner and who offered to circumcise a girl for a fee of 750 pounds.
Daily Mail reports the doctor and dentist have denied the allegations.
The genital mutilation procedure, otherwise known as female circumcision, involves removal of parts of the female external genitalia, and in some cases, stitching of the vaginal opening. The procedure is illegal in Britain and carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
The procedure is referred to informally as "cutting," and despite the fact that it is illegal in Britain, it is becoming common because of large number of immigrants from Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. According to The Guardian, the practice persists because it is considered a sign of a girl's "purity." But many girls who undergo the procedure often suffer long term side effects. According to statistics, every year up to 6,000 girls in London are at risk of the procedure and about 22,000 in the whole of UK.
The Metropolitan Police say there have been 166 reports by people who say they fear they are at risk of the procedure, but Daily Mail reports that a single perpetrator has not been identified and there have been no convictions for the offense. Only two doctors have been struck off The General Medical Council in connection with the offense since 1980.
According to the Daily Mail, a specialist midwife Alison Byrne, who has been involved in treating victims at Birmingham's Heartlands hospital, has had patients as young as 16 and as old as 40. According to Byrne, many of the women develop infections and prolonged bleeding.
The Guardian reports that Forward, a UK charity that campaigns against female genital mutilation(FGM), says about 100,000 women in the UK have undergone the procedure.
The Guardian reports that Waris Dirie, a model who was mutilated as child, and who now campaigns against the practice, said: "If a white girl is abused, the police come break down the door. If a black girl is mutilated, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism."