According to the Black Health Initiative in Leeds, midwives are being flown to England from Africa to carry out this illegal practice.
More than 8,000 women across England have been identified as victims of Female Genital Mutilation, according to NHS figures.
Female Genital Mutilation
FGM is defined by the World Health Organization as the partial or total removal of the female external for non medical purposes. This practice is illegal in the United Kingdom and perpetrators can receive up to 14 years imprisonment for it.
Chief Executive of the Black Health Initiative, Heather Nelson stated “We know of parties happening here in England, and in West Yorkshire we recently had to break one up, and we’ve stopped another from taking place.”
These comments were mirrored by the West Yorkshire police who said they were aware that local girls were being subjected to this practice.
According to Nelson, this marks a change to a practice which was already occurring, as girls were initially flown overseas, but now specialists are being flown over to the UK, cutting multiple girls at once followed by a celebration.
The Chief Executive went on to describe the difficulties with simply referring the case to the police, citing a lack of awareness regarding the practice among officers.
The Assistant Chief Constable of the West Yorkshire Police, Russ Foster stated: “We are doing everything we can to tackle this issue and it is vital that all our partners continue to work together to make a difference” despite having no “specific intelligence” regarding FGM “parties” taking place.
This is by no means a local issue with areas including Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester recording the highest number of victims.
Fatima, a woman from Sheffield who was subjected to FGM when she was 10 years old while living in Africa says “I don’t feel like a woman because I can’t feel anything. Every day I think about it and it makes me very angry.” Fatima suffered a severe infection following this practice and cannot have children as a result.
Despite the fact that authorities are aware of this illegal practice, which according to a study by the City University of London has left 137,000 women in England Wales as victims; a recent report by the Home Affairs Select Committee found that not a single person in the UK had ever been successfully prosecuted for a FGM offence and stated that this was a “national Scandal”.