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We worked with the UK Border Force and Children’s Social Care to prevent Female Genital Mutilation

We worked with the UK Border Force and Children’s Social Care to prevent Female Genital Mutilation
Officers at Stansted Airport worked with the UK Border Force and Children’s Social Care on July 20 to prevent and disrupt Female Genital Mutilation as part of Operation Limelight, a national operation that takes place at various airports across the UK.

Our officers targeted outbound flights to countries of prevalence for Female Genital Mutilation, undertaking intelligence-led checks on passengers and raising awareness of FGM.

The World Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation globally as a procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It is estimated that over 100,000 girls and women living in the UK have undergone FGM, a procedure that is illegal in the UK.

The team was briefed by Angie Marriott, a leading expert in the UK on FGM who led a detailed presentation about FGM, the motives and the lifetime risks and complications for girls and women.

Uniformed and plain-clothes officers spoke to passengers on 15 flights destined for Portugal, Turkey, Sweden, Norway and Holland that were targeted because they are often hub destinations for further flights to countries where FGM is practised. The destinations are also known to be routes taken by people attempting to avoid detection by changing airlines.

The team spoke to passengers to raise awareness of the practice and signs to look out for that a girl could be subject to FGM. They explained that not only is FGM illegal in the UK but it is also an offence to take girls abroad for FGM. The advice to passengers was received well and many told officers that they were unaware of FGM.

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