WASHINGTON — Today, on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Components join together to call for the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C). Annually on February 6, the international community observes Zero Tolerance Day to raise awareness of the significant harm that FGM/C causes people around the world. On this day, and every day, we stand together to protect the health and well-being of all individuals and uphold their human rights.
FGM/C occurs domestically and in many countries across numerous religious, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. DHS works closely with other government agencies, nongovernmental partners, medical and educational professionals, and local communities to share strategies and training to eliminate this practice and provide resources to people who have undergone or are at risk of experiencing FGM/C.
The United Nations (UN) reports that more than 200 million people alive today — most between infancy and age 15 — have undergone some form of FGM/C.
DHS is committed to supporting survivors of FGM/C through a survivor-centered approach and is taking steps to combat this human rights abuse. The Department is conducting outreach to diverse stakeholders, including community leaders and victim advocacy organizations, and collaborating with the medical community. “We have made encouraging progress over the past decade. Through a health-focused approach, DHS is partnering on continued action towards eliminating gender-based violence and ensuring that all individuals – including the medical and public health community – are unified in our collective goal to address these harmful acts in a victim-centered way,” said Dr. Herbert Wolfe, Acting Chief Medical Officer and Acting Director of the DHS Office of Health Security.
The United States treats FGM/C as a serious crime and a form of child abuse. Those suspected of committing FGM/C, including sending children overseas for this purpose, may be investigated and prosecuted accordingly. Anyone who has information about an individual who is suspected of assisting in this crime may submit an anonymous tip by contacting your local law enforcement agency, completing this online tip form, or calling the toll-free tip line at (866)-347-2423.