Heathrow’s border control staff are facing a ‘huge challenge’ to protect girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage during the summer holidays.
Border Force officers at London’s biggest airport have been trained to look out for girls who are being taken out of the country to undergo the illegal practice of FGM or other forms of violence, such as trafficking.
National school summer holidays are known to be exceptionally high risk for young girls – in some parts of Africa it is known as ‘cutting season’ for FGM – meaning staff are putting extra efforts into identifying victims of FGM and forced marriage.
Heathrow and Gatwick airport are conducting joint operations alongside the police to educate and protect potential victims.
Today, Heathrow airport demonstrated its work to Home Office minister Karen Bradley by simulating the arrival of a young woman who was suspected to be a trafficking victim.