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Lynne Featherstone, MP of Hornsey and Wood Green, issues 'call to arms' to tackle female genital mutilation
The MP of Hornsey and Wood Green has issued a “call to arms” in the fight to tackle female genital mutilation in Haringey.
Lynne Featherstone MP has called a meeting of senior politicians, health workers and police to find a strategy to end the procedure, sometimes known as female circumcision.
More 20,000 girls across the UK are believed to be at risk of being made to undergo the procedure.
The Liberal Democrat politician, who is a minister in the Department for International Development, has claimed that ending female genital mutilation within a generation is one of her top priorities.
She said: “Over the past few months I have met with Haringey Borough Council, the borough bommander and local health representatives.
“All have shown a great willingness to fight female genital mutilation in Haringey but now I want to bring everyone together to discuss a truly integrated strategy."
According to experts, female genital mutilation is prevalent in countries like Somalia and Egypt, but is also carried out on girls in the UK.
Most commonly, young girls are sent abroad to be ‘cut’ and it has been estimated that more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of being subjected to the operation in the UK each year.
It is also believed that almost 66,000 women in the UK are living with its consequences.
It is illegal to arrange for a child to be taken abroad for the process and if caught, offenders face a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Ms Featherstone added: “Late April to July is usually the time when girls are sent abroad to be cut – so there really is no time to lose.
“Female genital mutilation is a crime and it is child abuse – and everyone needs to work together to tackle the problem.”
The roundtable will take place on April 25 at Ms Featherstone’s constituency office.
Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa and Haringey council’s deputy chief executive Zina Etheridge will be in attendance.
Invites have been sent to representatives from local schools, Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group, the Whittington Hospital, and Haringey Children’s Services.
Chief Supt Olisa said: "Haringey Police is pleased to work with the minister and other Haringey stakeholders to address the issue of female genital mutilation.
“To that end I will be meeting with the minister and other members of the community to discuss how we can work together to best deal with the issue within Haringey.
“Communities should have confidence that we will take any reports of such practice extremely seriously and we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found to be involved in this illegal practice."
Anyone with information about this practice is asked to call the police on 101.
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