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06 February 2015

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting

February 6 is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Today we stand together with the White House, the Department of State, and a host of other U.S. government agencies to put an end to FGM/C and to protect the health and well-being of women and girls here in the United States and around the world.  

According to the United Nations, over 140 million women and girls have undergone some form of FGM/C. If current trends continue, another 86 million girls will be victims of FGM/C by 2030. This is not a problem confined to distant lands or times. FGM/C is happening to women and girls today, and right here in our own backyard. Within diaspora communities around the United States, girls are being cut on U.S. soil or sent abroad to undergo the procedure.   

In the 21st century, no woman or girl should have to experience the deep psychological and health risks associated with FGM/C. As President Obama has said, FGM/C is a tradition that’s not worth keeping and should be eliminated. 

The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and child abuse. It is against U.S. law to perform FGM/C on a girl, or to send or attempt to send a girl outside the United States so that FGM/C can be performed. Violating the laws against FGM/C may also have significant immigration consequences.

USCIS, together with the White House and numerous U.S. government agencies, is working both here in the United States and overseas in countries where women and girls are subjected to this practice to help educate communities about the serious, damaging effects of FGM/C.
Many countries have taken steps to raise awareness of the injustice of FGM/C, but it will take all of us, working together, to end this practice once and for all. 

If you believe you are at risk of FGM/C, know of someone at risk of FGM/C, have questions about FGM/C, or have undergone FGM/C and need help or further information, please call this hotline for information about available resources: 1-800-994-9662

More information about the practice of FGM/C can be found in this U.S. Government Fact Sheet and on the United Nations’ Zero Tolerance Day website.

-  Lori Scialabba,  Deputy Director  of  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


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