Muslim Female Genital Mutilation Practitioners are Travelling to Canada, Border Officers Warned

Muslim Female Genital Mutilation Practitioners are Travelling to Canada, Border Officers Warned

Practitioners of female genital mutilation are believed to be entering Canada to perform the illegal procedure on girls, according to intelligence reports distributed to frontline border officers.

The reports obtained by Global News show the Canada Border Services Agency has been on the alert for the arrival of travelling “PFGMs,” or practitioners of female genital mutilation, for more than a year.

Photos of the cutting tools, belts and “special herbs” practitioners might be carrying in their baggage when they arrive in the country have been circulated to border officers.

Once in Canada, the practitioners are typically called into homes to perform the procedures, the CBSA Intelligence Operations and Analysis Division wrote in a report titled, “Female Genital Mutilation Practitioners Entering Canada.”

A second Intelligence Advisory told officers to “be aware of girls and women travelling to or returning from regions where they may be subjected to the practice.” An accompanying map highlighted countries in Africa and the Middle East.

While it has long been suspected that Canadian girls were being taken abroad to undergo female genital mutilations, the reports show that federal officials believe the practice is now occurring in Canada.

Female genital mutilation refers to “cutting of female genitalia and permanently mutilating the sexual organs of young females for non-medical reasons,” according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Although it can cause chronic health problems and trauma, the procedure is used “to control female sexuality, ensure chastity until marriage and to render young women more desirable for marriage purposes,” the rights commission said on its website.

The practice has been illegal in Canada since 1997. There has never been a successful prosecution in this country but in the U.S., six people have been arrested since April for allegedly performing genital mutilations at a Detroit clinic.

In Australia last year, a former midwife, Kubra Magennis, 72, was convicted of performing genital mutilations on two girls, ages 6 and 11. Their mother was also found guilty as well as a religious cleric.

“Practitioners of Female Genital Mutilation are almost certainly entering Canada to engage in Female Genital Mutilation on both girls and women of primarily African and South-East Asian descent,” the CBSA wrote in one of the reports.

Disclosed under the Access to Information Act, the reports show that Canadian border officials have been told to treat those “committing, aiding and abetting” female genital mutilations as possible criminals. The reports were labelled as a “human trafficking” priority.

 

Read more from Global News here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3602227/female-genital-mutilation-canada-border-officers-warned/

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