SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-88, recently announced that legislation she authored regarding female genital mutilation was passed by the state Senate.
The bill provides that a person is guilty of facilitating female genital mutilation when he/she intentionally aids in the commission or attempted commission of a person circumcising, excising or infibulating female genitalia of a person under 18 years old.
“This horrific and barbaric practice needs to be stopped,” Paulin said. “The physical pain and suffering is just the beginning of what these young women endure for the rest of their lives. The psychological scars are deep and long-lasting, impacting the women in ways that most people cannot imagine."
According to a 2013 study, more than 65,000 females at risk or who have undergone FGM live in the New York City metropolitan area and Newark. FGM refers to a harmful traditional practice, carried out largely on girls under the age of 18.
It is illegal to perform FGM under federal and New York state law. Despite current laws prohibiting FGM, every year girls in New York remain at risk of facing imminent danger of FGM when the procedure is carried out either within the state or in traditional ceremonies overseas, she added.
"We have learned from testimony of survivors that families are increasingly engaging in a practice known as 'vacation cutting,' in which family members send their female children overseas to undergo FGM during school vacations, as part of a trip organized to expose the girls to the customs of their ancestral homelands, and thereby avoid criminal prosecution in this state,” Paulin said. “These young girls are sent overseas for FGM without their consent and in some cases without the knowledge or permission of one or both of their parents. This legislation will better enable us to protect these children from being forced to undergo FGM by holding criminally liable the individuals who intentionally assist in subjecting the children to FGM."
The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Andrew Lanza, is headed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signature.
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