Vulnerable travelers

British airports aim to stop female genital mutilation before it happens

The Border Force officers at England’s largest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, are now trained to intercept victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) coming and going from Britain. Officers who believe something suspicious is underway — like someone with no belongings, not in control of their passport, or very quiet while questions are answered for them — are being questioned with sensitivity. “If I was 7 years old coming home and someone had asked if something had happened to me, I would have easily disclosed it,” Nimko Ali, an FGM campaigner and victim, told The Telegraph. Ali, who was 7 when she underwent FGM on a family trip to Somalia, expressed worry that the practice may encourage racial profiling. Heathrow airport Border Force assistant director Ashley Robinson addressed those concerns, saying, “The important thing is to recognize there are cultural barriers and not being afraid to challenge it … We make it clear that in the U.K., FGM is child abuse.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


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