New report finds half of female genital mutilation cases are in London, with 65,000 girls at risk across the country.
The London Assembly, an elected body, has called on the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan to lead a campaign to end “the hidden crime” of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the capital.
An estimated 170,000 women and girls in Britain have undergone FGM and 65,000 preteen girls are thought to be at risk, it said in a report.
The London Assembly is a part of the Greater London Authority that scrutinises the activities of the mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor’s annual budget and to reject the mayor’s draft statutory strategies.
Half of FGM cases recorded in the country are in London, where affected communities include Somalis, Sierra Leoneans, Eritreans and Sudanese.
The ritual, done for cultural, traditional or religious reasons, involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. In some cases, the vaginal opening is also sewn up.
“FGM remains a hidden crime – still taking place behind closed doors, with many girls still at risk,” Jennette Arnold, deputy chairwoman of the elected assembly, said in a statement.