As many as 200,000 girls are "at risk" for female genital mutilation in the United States each year, a national expert said Tuesday, calling Michigan a "hot spot" for a criminal procedure state legislators are working to end.

The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved bills that would make female genital mutilation punishable by up to 15 years in prison, building on a federal penalty of up to five years behind bars.

The legislative action comes after two suburban Detroit doctors and a spouse were accused in the past month of cutting 7-year-old girls and conspiring to cover up the crime. It was the first federal indictment of its kind in the country, and Michigan legislators say the state needs tougher penalties to ensure it never happens here again.

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