Protecting Girls and Women in the U.S. from FGM and Vacation Cutting, Sanctuary for Families
- Although FGM is most prevalent in twenty-eight countries in Africa and the Middle East, it is no longer confined to distant shores. Every year, women in the United States discover that they, their daughters, and their loved ones face a very real and imminent danger of FGM in the U.S.
- Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that at least 150,000 to 200,000 girls in the United States are at risk of being forced to undergo FGM.
- According to an analysis of data from the 2000 U.S. census, the number of girls and women in the United States at risk for female genital mutilation increased by 35 percent between 1990 and 2000.
- While this is a national problem, the greater New York City metropolitan area is home to more girls and women at risk of FGM than any other region in the United States.
- Each year, girls are exposed to FGM through a growing phenomenon called “vacation cutting,” in which families send their daughters abroad to undergo the procedure, typically during their school vacations.
- Girls and young women are also subjected to FGM on U.S. soil in covert and illegal ceremonies performed by traditional practitioners, or by health care providers who support FGM or do not want to question families’ cultural practices.”