U.S. Congress Working on Travel Ban for Female Genital Mutilation

Joseph Crowley (D-New York) and Mary Bono Mack (R-California) are asking their fellow members of congress to support a new law that would make it illegal to transport a minor outside of the United States for the purpose of female genital mutilation (FGM). According to a “Dear Colleague” letter obtained by UN Dispatch, the “Girls Protection Act of 2010” would impose the same penalties on those who transported teenage girls abroad for FGM as if the procedure occurred in the United States. 

Numerous European countries have already passed laws, known as “vacation” or “extra-territorial” provisions, which make it possible to prosecute individuals who transport girls abroad to have the procedure forcibly carried out.current U.S. law does not sufficiently address the travel issue. As a result, young girls in the United States have a difficult time turning to the legal system for the protection and support they deserve.  Our legislation would amend existing law so that those who transport girls abroad for the purposes of FGM will face the same penalties as if the FGM had been carried out in the United States.

The letter is dated April 30th. I imagine that it will attract a number of co-sponsors.  Something to keep an eye on.