Girls in North Carolina at Risk for Female Genital Mutilation


The perception is that female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs only in other countries, but this barbaric practice shockingly happens right here in the U.S. as well.

Just 27 states have laws in place to protect women and girls from this cruel and unnecessary practice that is often carried out on girls as young as the age of 3, says Elizabeth Yore, international child advocate and head of the national #EndFGMToday initiative. North Carolina is one of 23 states that still has no laws on the books to criminalize FGM. While FGM has been a federal crime since 1996, local prosecutors need state laws to bring perpetrators to justice.

“With important midterm elections just weeks away, legislators in these states should stand up and say they are committed to protecting women and girls from FGM by sponsoring a bill criminalizing this procedure,” Yore said. “This can and should be a bipartisan issue, as evidenced by the 27 states with laws already in place. While some developments have been positive, 23 states do not have laws protecting females from this ghastly practice—and that is unacceptable. We will advocate in the new legislative sessions to further protect these girls so they are safe from FGM in all 50 states.”

Yore noted that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Female genital mutilation is also recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice.

View a state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws at Anti-FGM efforts are underway in several states that do not yet have laws on the books.

Learn more about FGM on social media at #EndFGMToday, as well as efforts in the U.S. to stop it.