Although England banned the practice in the 1980s, no-one has ever been prosecuted, and Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Foy- head of the Child Abuse Investigation Command-doesn't seem to think prosecution would be much of a deterrent. Foy said he wasn't
".. necessarily sure that the availability of a stronger sense of prosecution will change it [the incidence of FGM] for the better".
That's why so many young girls are sent to England to undergo one of the most horrific and barbaric things you can do to a female.
Isabelle Gillette-Faye, director of the French protest group GAMS, said she recently learnt of two girls due to be taken from Paris to London to be mutilated. She believes the UK is the preferred destination for many others in African-immigrant communities in France – where, unlike in the UK, young girls are routinely checked by doctors until the age of six to ensure they have not been harmed.
"In England you are very respectful about traditions of every community who live in your country," she said. "In our country it is totally different, because when migrants arrive in France they have a necessity to integrate with our law and traditions. We will not tolerate the mutilation of children."
Some 20,000 girls are at risk of being mutilated in cities across Britain, according to Forward, the leading group campaigning in the UK against FGM.
Amina Yahaya, an 18-year-old British-Somali student living in Bristol, said she knew of "FGM parties" being held in the city. "They cut them all together, as a group," she explained, "because it is cheaper. At first, the girls are all excited because it's a party, until they realise what is going to happen, and then they get frightened."
At least some African countries are making the effort to stop the practice. In 2009, Uganda banned and criminalized FGM. But it's not just an African female rite of passage, it's just as prevalent in the Arab world. Women's rights groups were up in arms when Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood this year declared it was organizing mobile FGM clinics.
FGM is just another means of controlling women in a religious culture that demeans and devalues them on so many levels and in so many ways.