Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls Call on the U.S. to Ensure Efforts to End FGM Last Beyond this Administration

Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls Call on the U.S. to Ensure Efforts to End FGM Last Beyond this Administration

or more than 20 years, Equality Now has been working with partners across Africa and around the world to end female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is internationally-recognized as a human rights violation, torture and an extreme form of violence against women and girls. According to UNICEF’s 2013 report, if current trends continue, up to 30 million girls are at risk over the coming decade.

In the United States, although it is illegal to perform FGM or to knowingly transport a girl out of the country to inflict FGM upon her, it’s been estimated by the Population Reference Bureau earlier this year that 507,000 American girls and women have either been – or are at risk of being – subjected to FGM.

“The U.S. can be a global leader on efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM). However, we must first get our own house in order. Although there is a federal law which bans FGM, there is a need for a comprehensive inter-agency approach to address the practice that will last throughout this administration and beyond. We urge the U.S. to provide a public update on its plans to ensure all efforts to end FGM are sustainable and supported with funding, and support and encourage state efforts to end FGM at local levels.”

- Shelby Quast, Policy Director, Equality Now

“It's important for the U.S. to have a national level strategy and country-wide solution including engaging with survivors, diaspora, and civil society organizations as well education and services for survivors, since FGM happens everywhere and efforts to end it need to be both cohesive and operationalized at every level.

-Jaha Dukureh, FGM survivor and activist, Safe Hands for Girls

The U.S. government has recently made several commitments to address FGM here. While we applaud the efforts of the U.S. government to end FGM, we want to make sure that the work to protect at-risk women and girls continues during this Administration and beyond. Ensuring all at-risk women and girls can access protections and support at all levels requires a comprehensive government-wide strategy. In addition, 26 US states have yet to enact anti-FGM legislation. We urge all states to ensure their laws reflect federal law and help ensure that the cycle is broken in every single corner of this nation.