The amount of women and girls in Germany who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) has increased to 68,000, the families minister announced Thursday. The increase, up 44% from the last estimated total calculated in 2017, was attributed to greater immigration from countries where FGM is more common.
Up to 15,000 girls in Germany may also be under threat of undergoing the procedure.
"Female genital mutilation is serious violation of human rights and an archaic crime that violates girls' and women's right to physical integrity and sexual self-determination," Minister Franziska Giffey told reporters. "It has lifelong physical and psychological consequences for those affected."
Giffey said that her goal was "to protect girls and young women from this and to offer them help."
Read more: Why do so many girls still face FGM?
New measures to empower women
Giffey called for new measures in local communities to prevent the number from rising further.
Chair of rights group NALA Fadumo Korn said that the focus going forward should be "empowering mothers to protect their children." She presented a petition of 125,000 signatories against FGM to Giffey.
The rise from 44,000 in 2017 was so large because of increased immigration from countries like Eritrea, Somalia, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria, Giffey said.
The World Health Organization estimates that around 200 million women and children around the world have undergone female genital cutting.
ed/msh (AFP, epd, KNA)