As many as 100,000 women in Britain have undergone female genital mutilations with medics in the UK offering to carry out the illegal procedure on girls as young as 10, it has been reported.
Investigators from The Sunday Times said they secretly filmed a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner who were allegedly willing to perform circumcisions or arrange for the operation to be carried out.
The doctor and dentist deny any wrongdoing.
The practice, which involves the surgical removal of external genitalia and in some cases the stitching of the vaginal opening, is illegal in Britain and carries up to a 14 year prison sentence. It is also against the law to arrange FGM.
Known as “cutting”, the procedure is traditionally carried out for cultural reasons and is widespread across Africa. It is thought to be needed as proof of a girl’s “purity” for when she marries, but victims are rarely given anaesthetic and frequently suffer long-term damage and pain.
Research suggests that every year up to 6,000 girls in London are at risk of the potentially fatal procedure, and more than 22,000 in the UK as a whole. The Metropolitan Police said since 2008, it had received 166 reports of people who fear they are at risk of FGM. It is the same story for all 43 forces across England and Wales with no convictions for the offence ever taking place, according to The Sunday Times.