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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

Woman arrested at Heathrow Airport for conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation

A 13-year-old girl travelling with her has been taken into care.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A 38-YEAR-OLD WOMAN has been arrested and a 13-year-old girl has been taken into care as part of an operation by British police aimed at stopping female genital mutilation.

The woman was arrested after arriving at Heathrow Airport in London on a flight from Sierra Leone.

The 38-year-old woman is a British national who was born in Sierra Leone. She has been taken to a west London police station where she is being questioned.

The teenage Sierra Leonian girl who was travelling with her has been taken into the care of social services.

FGM was made illegal in Ireland in 2012, and is also illegal in the UK.

Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven of the London Metropolitan Police said that FGM constituted child abuse.

“Many communities are familiar with the practice but not of its health risks, the fact that it is illegal within the UK or that there is no religious basis to it,” he said.

London Police spoke to more than 30 people arriving on flights from Nigeria and Liberia at Heathrow Airport on Thursday as part of an plan to directly target people involved in FGM.

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The practice, which involves young girls’ genitals being cut and maimed, is most prevalent in Somalia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ireland’s first FGM clinic opened last Wednesday, aiming to provide treatment to the almsot 4,000 women in the country who have suffered female genital mutilation.

Read: Ireland’s first “landmark” female genital mutilation clinic to open today > 

Column: ‘It was done one day without warning’ – a terrifying story of genital mutilation > 

Read: Female genital mutilation officially banned in Ireland > 

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Christine Bohan

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