An international conference focusing on a global scourge — female genital mutilation — made significant progress this week with an announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain that his government would prosecute parents who submit their daughters to that primitive abuse. The world can only wish for similar enlightenment in the 29 countries in Africa and in parts of Asia and the Middle East where genital mutilation is most common and where more than 130 million girls and women have been scarred for life.

"All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion," Mr. Cameron declared, speaking as the co-host of a global Girl Summit in London dedicated to eradicating both female genital mutilation and child marriage within a generation. This is an enormous goal. More than 700 million women alive today worldwide were forced into marriage as children, according to Unicef, the event's co-sponsor.

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