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.