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Female genital mutilation (FGM)

UK flag sown up to represent FGMFGM is also called female genital cutting or female circumcision, it is the removal of the external parts of the genitals for reasons that have no basis in fact or evidence.

Some people claim FGM is needed for hygiene or religious reasons but this is not true.

  • Around the globe, 130 million girls and women have had FGM.
  • In Africa 101 million girls aged 10 and over have had FGM.
  • In the UK it is we think that 65,000 girls are at risk each year.

Often girls are taken out of the UK for FGM to be done, giving them time to heal and ensure that nobody knows about it back home. This often happens during the summer holidays; a time often called the cutting season.

FGM is often done with no anaesthetic and using unsterilized equipment.  As well as having a lot of pain and trauma at the time (some girls die during the procedure) it can also cause problems in future with having sex and giving birth.

FGM is illegal in the UK. It is also illegal to take a British person or someone who lives in the UK abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this.

The maximum sentence for carrying out FGM or helping it to take place is 14 years in prison.

 A website called Plan has information about FGM at: Because I am a girl

You can read about the law on FGM at


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