Female genital mutilation “parties”, at which dozens of girls are operated on by older women specially flown in from abroad, are taking place in Britain, physicians have told MPs.
The Guardian reports that the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee heard from a variety of health officials about the spread of the practice throughout Britain.
Janet Fylde of the Royal College of Midwives said that by the time authorities had been alerted of the parties, the “cutter” – the woman performing the operation – will have left. “By the time the girls are cut, the woman ‘cutter’ is on her flight back to the country she came from. We can’t go after the cutter. We don’t know who she or he is. The parents have to be held responsible,” she said.
Professor Janice Rymer of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also said that female genital mutilation was happening in Britain. She said she had “no idea” of the scale, but she was “sure it is happening in the country”.
MPs were also told that between 75 and 80 women a year were undergoing reversal operations for female genital mutilation in Britain.
The practice involves deliberately cutting the female genital organs, and is often performed by women who have no medical training.
NHS Direct says that it is often carried out without anaesthetics or antiseptics, and can involve the use of knives, scissors, pieces of glass or razor blades.
Long term consequences include kidney impairment, complications during pregnancy, and chronic infection. It is estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of being subject the to the procedure in the UK.