Reps. Maloney & Trott Move to Strengthen Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Law

Jul 20, 2017
Press Release
New legislation would triple prison sentence to 15-years

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) and Dave Trott (R-MI-11) introduced the bipartisan Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act, legislation 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:

 “Female genital mutilation is a disturbing abuse of women and girls not just around the world but also here at home and it is up to us to stop and properly punish this illegal exploitation,” said Rep. Maloney. “This practice has increased in prevalence in the United States over the last 30 years while it has decreased abroad. We’re clearly moving in the wrong direction. In 2008, ten global agencies called the practice a human rights violation and called for its elimination. The list of health risks associated with this barbarism is long and serious, including death, childbirth complications and newborn death. By increasing the penalty for this despicable crime and introducing a provision to encourage states implement reporting laws, we hope to make it clear that this behavior will not be tolerated.”  

“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 females in the United States have undergone or are at risk for genital mutilation and, this year, this staggering statistic hit home in Oakland County. In April, three physicians were arrested, suspected of performing over 100 female genital mutilations, most recently, out of their practice in Livonia, Michigan,” said Rep. Trott. “These doctors, and all those who commit these horrendous crimes against innocent children, must be held accountable for their unconscionable actions. We must protect our girls, and this legislation increasing the federal penalty is critical to eradicating this despicable practice from our communities.” 

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 implores 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.  

In stark contrast 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.  

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