Situation in Europe

About the Motives, Results und Prevalence of the Practice

Situation in Europe

Godchild Africa

„The day will come when daughters will revolt and take their mothers to court. And all those who looked away instead of protecting us will be put on the dock with them.“ 

Mariatou Koita, 1994

Through immigration, genital mutilation has also spread to America, Australia and Europe. It is estimated that in Europe alone there are at least 500,000 victims, and in Germany there are about 30,000 affected or at risk. Various EU states have responded differently to this challenge. For example, since 2004 German family courts have in individual cases forbidden families from bringing their daughters to their countries of origin, as they would be in realistic danger of genital mutilation there. In 2013, genital mutilation was established as a criminal offense in Germany. However, the risk of punishment for perpetrators is low, since the cutting is carried out in secret and there are no obvious scars. Precautionary check-ups that could bring instances of mutilation to light are not required, nor is there mandatory reporting for medical professionals.

Unlike Germany, in France, medical personnel are required to report FGM as a form of child abuse to authorities. Since 1991 it is considered a criminal act to mutilate a girl and in 1994 there was a case when 18-year-old Mariatou Koita discovered the mutilation of the younger sister. She filed for an investigation and both her mother and the perpetrator were sentenced in criminal court. This case brought FGM to the attention of many people as previously, it was more or less regarded as a “cultural peculiarity.”

Prevention and assistance in Germany

SAIDA has reacted to the situation and in 2018 founded the first specialist counselling centre for girls and women with genital mutilation in Central Germany. Our counselling services are open to all people who need advice and support on this child protection and women's rights issue. As an independent provider of child and youth welfare services, we work together with youth welfare offices in specific child protection cases. We are often consulted by mothers from countries of origin of this violence who wish to protect their daughters. Or we are contacted by paediatricians and gynaecologists who are looking after a patient in their practice or who are worried about a child. We are the point of contact for preventive child protection or concrete help for those affected. In addition, we provide further training on the subject for specialists from the educational and medical professions, social work, and government offices and authorities.

About SAIDA International e.V.

We are committed to supporting women and children’s rights in developing countries. Our work focuses on education for young girls, stopping genital mutilation and early marriages, empowering women, and improving reproductive health. 


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