Daughter's Keeper

07.23.1411:24 AM ET

British Law Prosecutes Parents for FGM

British law said it was illegal to perform female genital mutilation or to take a girl out of the country for the purpose. Now, parents can be prosecuted for allowing it.

More than 137,000 women in England and Wales have undergone female genital mutilation. An estimated 20,000 girls born in Britain are at risk. Seeking to end the practice “everywhere for everyone within this generation,” Prime Minister David Cameron this week announced new legislation making it the parents’ responsibility to protect their daughters. While the laws had made it illegal only to perform the cutting or to take a girl out of the country for the purpose, now parents in Britain who subject their daughters to the practice will be prosecuted. Female genital mutilation – which occurs mostly in 29 African countries, parts of Asia and the Middle East – has been outlawed in Britain since 1985.  The local effect, however, has increased over the last decade as female refugees have arrived from conflict countries where it’s practiced.