A man who in 2006 became the first person in the United States to be convicted of female genital cutting was deported on Monday to his home country, Ethiopia, after serving 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.
The man, Khalid Adem, 41, used scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001, prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga., said. He was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
The case led to a state law prohibiting the practice, which was already prohibited by a federal law and is a common social ritual in parts of the world but is broadly condemned.
“A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime,” Sean W. Gallagher, a field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls, as well as societies at large.”
The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The procedure, which involves the removal of parts of the genitalia, is typically performed on girls before they turn 15 and leads to a wide range of lifelong health consequences, including chronic infection, childbirth complications, psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation and intercourse.
The practice is far from unheard-of in the United States. Though it is illegal under federal law, about half a million women have undergone the procedure or are likely to be subjected to it, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cutting has presented new challenges for doctors as the number of African immigrants in the United States has grown. In 2013, lawmakers extended the federal ban to include “vacation cutting,” in which American-born girls are sent to other countries to have the cutting performed.
I.C.E. has arrested at least 380 people and has deported 785 known or suspected human rights violators since 2003, the agency said.
In 2016, Unicef said the rate of cuttings had declined over three decades, with adolescents about one-third less likely to be cut than 30 years ago.
Picture Source: Khalid Adem in 2006. - Jason Braverman/Gwinnett Daily Post, via Associated Press
Source: New York Times