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Police urging Home Secretary to prevent FGM practitioner from entering UK

Published 19/09/2016

A judge has ruled that the Home Office should make the decision on banning an FGM practitioner from entering the UK
A judge has ruled that the Home Office should make the decision on banning an FGM practitioner from entering the UK

Police are urging the Home Secretary to intervene in the case of a "high profile" woman who carries out FGM operations and is said to be seeking to enter the UK.

A High Court judge was told by a police barrister that a request for the woman to be stopped from entering was "in motion".

Earlier Mr Justice Holman, sitting in London, had said the question of whether the woman should be allowed into the country was a matter for the secretary of state, not the courts.

The Metropolitan Police had applied for an FGM protection order and also for an inherent jurisdiction order to prevent the Sierra Leone national from visiting the UK.

The woman was not identified in court, but sources later confirmed she is Kharday Zorokong, who was recently part of a delegation from Sierra Leone to the 73rd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

The Sierra Leone government has resisted calls for the imposition of a blanket ban on female circumcision.

Ms Zorokong attended the UN to give evidence on the issue. She is a practitioner of female gender cutting but is opposed to operations on girls under 18.

Zimran Samuel, appearing for the police, said officers had been asked to take action to exclude the cutter by an anti-FGM campaigner, now in her 40s, who was also an FGM victim.

Without naming her, Mr Samuel said the potential visitor had "high profile status" and headed a council of cutters in her own community.

Because of her status, people would want to use her services, even though FGM was unlawful in the UK.

The judge said he found FGM "abhorrent and a terrible scourge on women", but "the right thing is to try to get the secretary of state not to let this woman in".

After the judge declined to make any orders, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement: "The MPS is now considering what other options are available to prevent the entry into the UK of a person who may wish to carry out FGM."

Detective Superintendent Wendy Morgan, from the MPS sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: "FGM is illegal and constitutes child abuse.

"A lot of work has been done to raise awareness over the last few years of this horrific practice, highlighting the short and long-term health risks and the absence of any religious teaching that supports it. However we are not complacent and more still needs to be done.

"The Met spends time highlighting the support available to those who may be at risk. When victims come to us with concerns over the risks they face, no matter what stage they are at in their life, the Met takes take these concerns very seriously.

"Police have a responsibility to act to protect vulnerable people and prevent people, especially the vulnerable, from becoming victims of crime. The Met will always to seek to follow the law to carry out this responsibility."

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