November 29, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today introduced the Girls’ Protection Act of 2011 to protect young girls by banning the act of transporting girls overseas to be subject to female genital mutilation (FGM). By closing what is known as the “vacation loophole,” this legislation would strengthen a law that Reid authored in 1996 that criminalizes the practice of FGM on girls under the age of 18 in the United States.
“The practice of FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women,” Reid said. “I hope that the enactment of this legislation will help to protect young girls who would otherwise be taken from our country to be subject to FGM overseas.”
“We applaud Senator Reid for introducing this legislation on International Human Rights Defenders’ Day and reaffirming that FGM, in all its forms is a human rights violation,” said Yasmen Hassan, Global Director of Equality Now. “FGM is not a religious issue, nor is it restricted to one ethnic group: it is a form of gender-based violence, practiced on little girls and young women. We hope that this legislation will generate renewed interest from the medical, social services and other authorities to protect girls, often US-born, from FGM.”
The bill Reid has introduced would make transporting a minor abroad for the purposes of FGM a crime and is a companion measure to the legislation introduced by Congressman Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Bono Mack (R-CA). Its introduction today coincides with International Human Rights Defenders Day and the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
For more information, visit http://www.equalitynow.org/node/866