Finally, something is being done to stop the barbaric act of female genital mutilation.
Michigan passed a law stating anyone involved in FGM practices – doctors, parents and others – will face up to 15 years in jail.
This new legislation was created in response to an ongoing criminal case that involves 6 young girls.
The federal case is against six people whom are connected to an India-based Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra.
These people are ‘accused of being involved in the genital mutilation of two girls from Minnesota and four from Michigan. The procedures were allegedly carried out by a doctor at a clinic in suburban Detroit,’ reported Fox News.
“Those who commit these horrendous crimes should be held accountable for their actions, and these bills stiffen the penalties for offenders while providing additional support to victims,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “This legislation is an important step toward eliminating this despicable practice in Michigan while empowering victims to find healing and justice.”
The practice, also known as female circumcision or cutting, is a federal crime punishable by five years in prison. But the new Michigan laws — which also give prosecutors and victims more time to pursue such cases — create harsher penalties for procedures that have been condemned by the United Nation but are common for girls in some parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Michigan’s new law will take effect in October and the state will join 25 others that have officially banned FGM.
The law prevents defendants to make a case that FGM is a custom or ritual, if they transport girls to another state for the procedure.
It will apply to parents and/or others who subject the girls to this horrendous act.
Under the laws, the statute of limitations for criminal charges to be filed will be 10 years or by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday, whichever is later. Victims will be able to sue for damages until their 28th birthday, which is longer than the previous two-year window after the discovery of harm.
The state Department of Health and Human Services will develop an educational and outreach program targeting specific populations, including girls who may be at risk. Teachers, physicians and police also will receive information.
Advocates say few states have enacted education requirements or longer statutes of limitations.
“This barbaric procedure has no accepted health benefits and is only performed to exercise control over young women,” said bill sponsor Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton. “We owe it to our girls to give law enforcement and prosecutors every available tool to bring the perpetrators to justice.”