Bipartisan Maloney-Trott Legislation to Strengthen Penalties for Performing Female Genital Mutilation Passes Judiciary Committee

Nov 2, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – The House Committee on Judiciary today approved the Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act, legislation from Representatives Dave Trott (MI-11) and Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) that would increase the federal penalty for female genital mutilation from 5 years to 15 years in prison and encourage states to implement reporting requirements for suspected genital mutilation. Following the Committee’s unanimous approval of the bill, Congresswoman Maloney released the following statement:

“Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a far too common, outrageous assault on women and girls not just around the world but also here at home. It is up to us to stop and properly punish this illegal exploitation,” said Rep. Maloney. “The SAFE Act would significantly increase the penalty for someone found guilty of FGM, a reform that is long overdue. Over the last 30 years, this form of torture against women has actually increased in the United States while decreasing abroad. I’m grateful that my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee recognize that we need to crack down on the monsters that would commit this crime and I urge House leadership to quickly bring this bill to the floor.”

Under current federal law, female genital mutilation is punishable by 5 years in prison. The Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act would increase the punishment to 15 years imprisonment. Additionally, it encourages states to enact into law reporting requirements for suspected female genital mutilation. 

The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 500,000 females in the United States have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation.  

Compared to other developed countries, the 5-year penalty for perpetrators of female genital mutilation in the U.S. is significantly shorter. For example, the penalty in the United Kingdom is up to 14 years imprisonment and in France up to 20 years imprisonment.