New Report: Female Genital Mutilation in the United States
Friday, March 15, 2013 2:35 PM

Although many Americans believe that female genital mutilation (FGM) only occurs abroad, a recent study conducted by Sanctuary for Families indicates that women and girls living in the United States are at a high risk of undergoing FGM. 
The study found that between 1990 and 2000, the number of women at risk of FGM within the United States increased by 35%.  In 1996, a federal statute was adopted that formally outlawed the practice of FGM, and since then, 20 states have adopted similar such statutes. Moreover, in January, Congress passed a statute outlawing “vacation-cutting”—the practice of taking girls abroad during summer vacations in order to submit them to FGM. Yet, to date, there has been no prosecution pursuant to the federal statute, and only one state criminal prosecution.
The results of the study indicate that many communities within the United States that continue to practice FGM may be unaware that laws exist to ban the procedure. Sanctuary for Families concluded its study with numerous recommendations of ways to prevent FGM within the United States, including an enhanced focus on outreach and education—both to inform communities that the practice is legally prohibited and encourage a reconsideration of the cultural standards that continue to promote the practice.

Compiled from
: Lisa Anderson, “Female Genital Mutilation on the Rise in the United States- Report,” TrustLaw (March 2013).