U.S. House Unanimously Passes Bill by Reps. Trott and Maloney to Strengthen Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Law

Dec 5, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 3317, Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act; legislation introduced by Congressman Dave Trott (R-MI) and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) to increase the federal penalty for female genital mutilation from 5 years to 15 years in prison and to encourage states to improve reporting requirements for suspected female genital mutilation. Following the bill’s passage, Rep. Maloney released the following statement:

“Female genital mutilation is a heinous, abusive practice that causes immense physical and emotional pain and damage to young girls that lasts a lifetime. While this practice is illegal in the U.S. and we condemn it around the world, we need to do more to stop this practice here at home. The Centers for Disease Control estimated in 2012 that 500,000 females in the U.S. have been subjected to or are at risk of female genital mutilation. That number is rising. It is up to us to bring that number to zero. This bill creates a harsher and more appropriate penalty, increasing the current sentence of 5 years to 15 years imprisonment. Stricter penalties for performing the procedure are critical to eradicate this horrific abuse. I am proud to have worked with Rep. Trott on this bill and thank him for his leadership on this issue that threatens women and girls in the U.S. and around world. Today’s unanimous vote in favor of this measure sends a clear message that the United States of House of Representatives has zero tolerance for this outrageous abuse of women and girls.”

Congresswoman Maloney spoke in favor of the bill today on the House floor.

Under current federal law, female genital mutilation is punishable by 5 years in prison. The Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act, H.R. 3317, 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.