Female genital mutilation: Woman arrested at Heathrow Airport

Border control at Heathrow Airport
Image caption Officers were conducting an FGM awareness operation at Heathrow

A woman has been arrested at Heathrow Airport for conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation (FGM).

The 42-year-old was about to board a flight travelling to Ghana via Amsterdam when she was held by officers carrying out an FGM awareness operation.

The woman, a British national born in Zimbabwe, was taken to a west London police station.

An eight-year-old girl with the woman was taken into social services' care.

The arrested woman was subsequently transferred to Northamptonshire Police who will investigate the case.

Police and UK Border Force officers carried out an operation at the airport to raise awareness and to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM.

Officers from Project Azure, the Met Police response to tackling FGM, distributed health passports, checked luggage and spoke to passengers from places of "prevalence" for FGM, including Kenya, Doha and Abu Dhabi.

Det Ch Insp Jane Scotchbrook, from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Our focus is on targeting those communities where offences of FGM are prevalent, by engaging with passengers travelling to and from countries where the offence is practised."

Female genital mutilation

  • FGM includes procedures that alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth and increased risk of death for newborns

Source: World Health Organisation

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