Saturday, July 14, 2007

Police Offer Reward to Stop Female Circumcision

LONDON (Antara): London's Metropolitan Police announced on Wednesday that they were offering a 20,000-pound (US$40,500) reward for information that brought anyone carrying out female circumcision in London to justice.


The police said they believed the summer period to be the "most prevalent time" for the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) to be carried out, because the extended holiday from school provided time for young girls to recover.

”We are being told that the illegal practice of FGM is occurring to children in London," Detective Chief Superintendent Alistair Jeffrey, head of the Metropolitan Police's Child Abuse Investigation Command, said in a statement.

"We take this extremely seriously and that is why we are taking this unusual step of offering a reward, to encourage people not only to help us to prevent this happening, but also where it has occurred, bring those responsible to account."

The reward is half-financed by the police, with the remaining 10,000 pounds being supplied by the Waris Dirie Foundation, named after the fashion supermodel and activist who herself survived FGM as a child in Somalia.

It will apply to all information provided over the next year that leads to the arrest and prosecution of individuals for carrying out female circumcision in London.

Female circumcision varies in its scope, ranging from injury to the clitoris to the removal of the labia and clitoris, which is subsequently sewn up leaving only a tiny opening.

It is done without the child's consent, and according to police, only in rare occasions does it involve the use of an anesthetic or take place in a clinical environment.

Police said anyone administering FGM, or found to be arranging for it to be administered, could face up to 14 years in prison.


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