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Congressman Dave Trott

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Trott’s Legislation Increasing Federal Penalty for Female Genital Mutilation Passes House Judiciary Committee

November 2, 2017
Press Release
Legislation clears final hurdle before Floor vote with unanimous, bipartisan support

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Dave Trott (MI-11) issued the following statement after the House Committee on Judiciary passed the Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act, legislation that would increase the federal penalty for female genital mutilation to 15 years in prison and implore states to implement reporting requirements for suspected genital mutilation:

“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 females in the United States have undergone or are at risk for genital mutilation, and recently this staggering statistic hit home in Southeast Michigan. In April, Michigan doctors – health care professionals we trust with our children – were arrested, suspected of performing over 100 female genital mutilations out of their practice in my district. These doctors, and all those who commit these horrendous crimes against innocent children across the country, must be held accountable for their unconscionable actions. We must protect our girls, and this legislation increasing the federal penalty is critical to eradicating this barbaric practice from our communities.”

“It is deeply troubling that many women and young girls in the United States are at risk of female genital mutilation. This heinous ritual violates basic human rights in a horrific way, and we must ensure our laws appropriately deter and punish those seeking to harm women. Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved the SAFE Act, which contains new tools to fight this human rights abuse. I thank Congressman Trott for his efforts to protect young girls and women from this practice and call on the House to pass his bill without delay,” said Committee on Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte

Under current federal law, female genital mutilation is punishable by 5 years in prison. The Stopping Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act would increase the punishment to 15 years imprisonment. Additionally, it implores states to enact into law reporting requirements for suspected female genital mutilation.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 500,000 females in the United States have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation.

In stark contrast to other developed countries, the United States’ 5-year penalty for perpetrators of female genital mutilation is significantly weaker. For example, the penalty in the United Kingdom is up to 14 years imprisonment and in France up to 20 years imprisonment.