Young girls are being sent to Britain for the abusive removal of their genitalia by migrant families across Europe because the country is regarded as a soft touch on the ritual, an investigation has found.
The UK has a reputation for being so tolerant of female genital mutilation (FGM) that parents from some African communities in mainland Europe are bringing their daughters to Britain solely to have them cut – "sometimes during group sessions" – BBC's Newsnight discovered. While the penalties are tough in France – more than 100 people have been convicted there, serving prison sentences of up to 13 years – Britain has never carried out a single prosecution for FGM.
That is despite its being made illegal in the 1980s and 82 cases being reported to the Metropolitan Police in recent years, according to Commander Simon Foy, who ru ns the Child Abuse Investigation Command. He said he was "not necessarily sure that the availability of a stronger sense of prosecution will change it [the incidence of FGM] for the better".