The number of cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) has risen substantially in the last 20 years, according to a report released by the French National Public Health Agency.
The rise in risk cases was highlighted in the agency’s 21st Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (BEH), a peer-reviewed journal, which states that the estimated number of victims of FGM has risen from around 60,000 in the early 2000s to 124,355 within the span of just 10 years.
The majority of those at risk of FGM, 72 per cent, are migrants aged 18 to 40 years old and who predominantly come from French-speaking parts of Africa. Seventy per cent of the women come from either Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mali, or Guinea, the reporte stated.
For women born in France, half live in the Ile-de-France region which contains both the capital city of Paris and the highly migrant populated suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.
A report last year by the Group for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation (GAMS) claimed that as many as 30 per cent of the children in the Paris suburbs could be at risk of FGM.
30 Per Cent of Young Girls in Paris’s Troubled Suburbs Face FGM Threat https://t.co/Lz1RRrz8vE
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Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a sociologist and director of GAMS, said: “In general, they undergo mutilations of type 2, that is to say, the removal of the clitoris and labia minora.”
“We will be relieved when we have left circumcision two to three generations behind us. Families living in France are often resistant, as social and traditional pressures are very strong, and it is often the family remaining in the [original] country that decides.,” she added.
The BEH report also notes that France is likely to be the second-highest country in Europe in terms of FGM cases, behind only the United Kingdom.
While FGM has been illegal in the UK for decades, the first conviction for the practice came only this year in February when a 37-year-old Ugandan woman and her 43-year-old partner from Ghana were charged with mutilating their daughter’s genitals in 2017.
The mother in the case was found guilty, while the father was acquitted.