UK government has deployed specially trained Border Force teams across airports and ports in summer to identify and protect potential victims of Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM) travelling to and from the UK.
Girls are at highest risk of being taken out of the UK for FGM during school summer holidays.
The Border Force’s Safeguarding and Trafficking teams will therefore be targeting specific outbound flights to countries which practice FGM, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Dubai, Egypt and Turkey from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester Airports.
The team members have been given specialist advanced training so they have the right skills to identify and deal sensitively with potential victims of FGM in sometimes complex situations.
If a victim of FGM is identified by the Safeguarding and Trafficking teams the case will be referred to a specialist team member, who will assume responsibility for the case, interviewing and referring them to partner agencies where appropriate.
“Female Genital Mutilation is a criminal offence and it is child abuse,” Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, said. “Border Force officers have an important part to play in our drive to end FGM, both through gathering intelligence and action at the border. The school summer holidays are a time of particular risk for many girls. That is why we have teams of specially trained officers at major airports with the skills to identify and protect potential victims and stop the perpetrators.”
Ingrid Smith, Assistant Director of Border Force at Gatwick said: “Border Force officers, both in the UK and abroad, are working to provide crucial extra intelligence and carrying out additional checks to prevent FGM.
“The message we are sending with this intensification of operations is that the practice of FGM will not be tolerated in this country.”
On 22nd July 2014 the government of UK announced at the Girl Summit 2014 a new package of action and funding to protect girls in the UK and abroad from FGM and forced marriage.
The government has launched a £1.4m FGM Prevention Programme, in partnership with NHS England to help care for survivors and safeguard those at risk.
A new police guidance from the College of Policing and an inspection programme by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) will be introduced to look at how the police handle cases of FGM.
The government also announced a consultation on proposals to introduce new civil orders designed to protect girls identified as being at risk of FGM.
There are also plans to introduce a new legislation making it possible to prosecute parents if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut.
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