Michigan doctors charged in first federal genital mutilation case in US

23 April 2017 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/22/health/detroit-genital-mutilation-charges/index.html

“In the first federal case involving female genital mutilation filed in the United States, two Michigan doctors and the wife of one of the doctors have been charged with performing the banned procedure on two 7-year-old girls.”

How come fgm/c is said to happen quite often, even among migrants in the US and in Europe, while prosecution hardly ever happens? Are these cases so difficult to detect? Is evidence unreliable? Doesn’t the police pay attantion to it?

In this case, CNN reports: “The Detroit Free Press reported from the hearing that Smith said her client removed membrane from the girls’ genital area using a “scraper” as part of a religious practice. The girls’ parents would then bury the membrane in the ground in accordance with their religious custom, Smith said, according to the Free Press account.” 

‘Removing membrane’ – if this is an accurate description of the practice – is maybe hard to classify as fgm/c?

For an article on the approach toward fgm/c in the Netherlands, see RenĂ©e Kool ‘The Dutch approach to female genital mutilation in view of the ECHR’ in the Utrecht Law Review, 2010.

About Wibo van Rossum

assistent professor at legal theory Utrecht University School of Law

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