For Immediate Release
December 11, 2018
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, ext. 104
Nearly Half of U.S. States Don’t Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation
Perpetrators in 23 States Across America Have a Free Pass to Inflict This Unnecessary and Barbaric Procedure on Girls as Young as 7 Years Old
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Now that a district judge has declared a federal ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) unconstitutional, perpetrators in 23 states across America have a free pass to inflict this barbaric procedure on girls as young as 7 years old.
That must stop, says internationally renowned attorney and activist specializing in human rights and child welfare advocacy Elizabeth Yore, who heads the national EndFGMToday campaign. Yore has written a new opinion piece for The Daily Caller, where she makes an urgent call to these 23 states to enact their own tough FGM laws.
“Before District Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling, FGM had been a federal crime in the United States since 1996,” Yore noted. “Additionally, 27 states have also committed to protecting girls by enacting their own laws against the terrible procedure that leaves physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. Yet tragically, girls in 23 states across the country remain at risk because FGM is a growing criminal activity in the United States, and the 23 states that have yet to enact their own anti-FGM laws need to do so quickly—hopefully in 2019.
“Otherwise,” Yore added, “these remaining states are now safe harbors for mutilators. This judicial ruling will embolden others to engage in this horrific form of abuse of women and girls in America.”
Every state should stand with more than 513,000 women and girls across America who the Centers for Disease Control estimates are at risk for FGM by making it a crime and a reportable child abuse offense.
“FGM perpetrators operate in the shadows inflicting children of unimaginable abuse, maiming them for life and robbing them of future sexual pleasure,” Yore wrote. “Like human trafficking, FGM conducts its barbaric activity in secret among covert underground networks, enforcing silence among its victims.”
Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice.