Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed by US Federal law for over a decade and is illegal in 17 states. It is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of women and girls, and the World Health Organization classifies the practices as extreme forms of discrimination against women.
Yet it is arranged here in the United States:
[Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of Equality Now,] recalls the case of a 15-year-girl in New York City, forcibly married to an older man, who called Equality Now to say she'd overheard that her 9-year-old and 9-month-old cousins were being sent back to Gambia to be cut. "I scrambled to find a social worker from Gambia to go into the house and talk to the family, but I couldn't," says Bien-Aime. The 15-year-old finally warned her cousin, who went to a school counselor, who sent someone to try to intervene. That worked -- mostly. "The 9-year-old was left behind for that summer vacation, but we have every reason to believe the 9-month-old was cut," Bien-Aime says. "She was a U.S.-born child. It happens. Her cousin was just lucky" (Salon.com)
H.R. 5137 would make it a crime to transport a minor out of the country to subject her to FGM. If the girl were mutilated here, it would be a crime, so why shouldn't it be a crime to take her elsewhere and cut her?
The bill was introduced April 26 by Representatives Steve Crowley of New York and Mary Mack Bono of California.
Please sign the petition urging your representative to support this bill.
- U.S. House of Representatives
I am writing to ask you to support H.R. 5137, the Girls Protection Act of 2010. This act would make it a crime to transport minors to foreign countries for the purpose of female genital mutilation.
Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of women and girls. The World Health Organization classifies FGM as an extreme form of discrimination against women. Federal law has made FGM illegal in the United States for over a decade, and 17 states also have laws prohibiting FGM. Georgia and Nevada make it a crime to remove a minor from the state to subject her to FGM. H.R. 5137 would make it illegal to remove minors from the country to subject them to FGM.
While it is difficult to determine the exact number of victims of FGM, Equality Now, an international human rights organization working to end violence against women and girls, estimates that nearly 230,000 women and girls in the United States are survivors of FGM or are at risk for FGM. Furthermore, Archana Pyati, an asylum attorney for Sanctuary for Families in New York, has said It is a mistake to assume that FGM is a stand-alone event. FGM is a serious violation of human rights that is conducted in an environment of discrimination and violence against women.
Please support H.R. 5137 to help end this abhorrent practice.
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