LONDON (AFP) - The Metropolitan Police announced on Wednesday that they are offering a 20,000-pound reward for information that brought anyone carrying out female circumcision in London to justice.
The police said they believed the summer period to be the "most prevalent time" for the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) to be carried out, because the extended holiday from school provided time for young girls to recover.
"We are being told that the illegal practice of FGM is occurring to children in London," Detective Chief Superintendent Alistair Jeffrey, head of the Metropolitan Police's Child Abuse Investigation Command, said in a statement.
"We take this extremely seriously and that is why we are taking this unusual step of offering a reward, to encourage people not only to help us to prevent this happening, but also where it has occurred, bring those responsible to account."
The reward is half-financed by the police, with the remaining 10,000 pounds being supplied by the Waris Dirie Foundation, named after the fashion supermodel and activist who herself survived FGM as a child in Somalia.
It will apply to all information provided over the next year that leads to the arrest and prosecution of individuals for carrying out female circumcision in London.
Female circumcision varies in its scope, ranging from injury to the clitoris to the removal of the labia and clitoris, which is subsequently sewn up leaving only a tiny opening.
It is done without the child's consent, and according to police, only in rare occasions does it involve the use of an anaesthetic or take place in a clinical environment.
Police said anyone administering FGM, or found to be arranging for it to be administered, could face up to 14 years in prison.
I'd rather see both illegal of course. It's a given that the female genitalia is legally protected from mutilation in most developed countries. FGM is not an issue where there is any debate in the most influential countries in the world.
CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt on Thursday finally banned all female circumcision, the widely-practised removal of the clitoris which just days ago cost the life of a 12-year-old girl.
Officially the practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian women in Egypt and goes back to the time of the pharoahs, was banned in 1997 but doctors were allowed to operate "in exceptional cases".
On Thursday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali decided to ban every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry press official told AFP.
Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was a "permanent ban".
A survey in 2000 said the practice was carried out on 97 percent of the country's women.
In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to hospital.
Her mother accused the woman doctor of negligence, charging that her daughter's death was linked to the anaesthetic and not the removal of the clitoris, for which she had paid 50 pounds (nearly nine dollars). Police have arrested both women.