To The Editor,
I was interested to read your informative and disturbing piece on how the barbaric practice of FGM is affecting the West Midlands.
FGM has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years - including if girls are sent 'home' to be mutilated in the name of culture - yet despite robust legislation existing to stop this abuse from occurring, there has not been a single conviction in all that time.
Exact figures of European-resident girls and women who have undergone FGM, or are in danger of having it imposed upon them, are difficult to come by due to the secrecy of the practice and the closed nature of many immigrant communities, but the estimated numbers are staggering - about half a million.
The UK is a lot more capable of stating how prevalent this vile practice is in our own country than many European nations. As many as 170,000 women in the UK are thought to be living with the consequences of this barbarism with 65,000 girls under the age of 13 currently at risk.
The NHS reports on average 100 new cases every week. This is appalling and, coupled with the total lack of convictions, we are not doing anywhere near enough to sort it out. Education is a passive, long term solution. While it should most certainly be part of the action we take, we need to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who acts to harm a girl or woman in this way, or indeed anyone who acts to make it possible.
Margot Parker, UKIP MEP and spokesperson for women and equalities
MARGOT Parker MEP has backed the worldwide day of zero tolerance on FGM.
To The Editor,
Responding to research on male attitudes to female genital mutilation (FGM) undertaken by GAMS Belgium, Forward in the UK, the HIMILO Foundation and the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, UKIP's spokesman for Women and Equalities Margot Parker MEP said: "This is important information and the findings make clear how important full engagement with both genders is necessary if we are to end the appalling and barbaric practice of FGM.