Beliefnet
Activist Faith

The U.S. House of Representatives took a unified, bipartisan stand yesterday by unanimously voting in favor of the Stopping  Abusive Female Exploitation (SAFE) Act. This legislation triples the federal penalty for female genital mutilation (FGM) from five to 15 years in prison.

Further, the effort encourages states to implement reporting requirements for suspected FGM cases. The bill arose from Rep. Dave Trott (Mi.) who experienced this crime in his own state involving a doctor prosecuted for allegedly mutilating 7-year-old girls.

Attorney Elizabeth Yore, international child advocate and head of the EndFGMToday movement, applauded the effort.

“End FGM Today is thankful to Rep. Dave Trott of Michigan for sponsoring and fighting for the bill,” said Yore, who also served as general counsel for both the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “Evident in the bipartisan effort is the fact that protecting little girls from the horrors of FGM is a universal issue. The House has recognized that FGM is an exponentially growing threat in the U.S., and we urge the remaining states that have not enacted their own anti-FGM laws to do so quickly. We also look forward to swift passage in the Senate and the public urging that mandated reporters use the FGM FBI Hotline to help prosecute perpetrators of this terrible crime that leave physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.”

While this legislation marks a major step forward in the fight against FGM in America, the battle is far from over. How can people of faith help stop the horrific crime of FGM in their communities and state?

Although this hideous practice has been outlawed under federal law since 1996, only about half the states in the country are enacting their own laws. At least 59 countries around the world outlaw FGM.

Currently, several states have begun initiatives to introduce legislation against FGM. The Facebook page Americans Against Mutilation of Girls provides a social hub to discover more about the latest news and ways to help.

At least three steps can be applied in each of our lives today.

  1. Awareness: Joining the above Facebook group can help in this area.
  2. Advocate: Spread the news about this issue. Contact your Congressman or Senator to see where they stand in this area.
  3. Act: If you see something suspicious, report it to the FGM FBI Hotline.

For more about this movement, you can also visit EndFGMToday.com.

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Dr. Dillon Burroughs is one of America’s top communicators on today’s Christian issues. He serves as senior writer of The John Ankerberg Show and is author or coauthor of nearly 40 books. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He lives with his wife and three children in Tennessee.

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