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  1. ITV Report

FGM 'affects every corner of England and Wales'

Video report by ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall

The disturbing practice of Female Genital Mutilation affects every corner of England and Wales, a report has found.

FGM is an extreme form of female circumcision used to control female sexuality but it can lead to severe lifelong emotional and physical damage.

It is often practised in African countries such as Sierra Leone but it has been reported in every local authority from Cornwall to Northumberland.

In London, 1 in 20 women are likely to be survivors of childhood FGM.

But cases are particularly high in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Slough, Bristol and Leicester.

FGM survivor Sarian Kamara. Credit: ITV News

Sarian Kamara is one such survivor and now campaigns so that her daughters will never suffer.

She told ITV News: "The cutting has no benefit. It destroys your life totally.

"It should stop. We have to do everything in our capability to stop children from going through FGM."

137,000
Women in England and Wales have undergone FGM
20,000
British schoolgirls remain at risk, the NHS estimates

It is believed that 137,000 women currently living in England and Wales have undergone FGM - that is 1 in every 100.

The figures have been published in the summer as that is the time when girls are most at risk from being taken from the UK abroad to countries where FGM is still widely practised.

Last week police made legal history when they used Protection Orders for the first time to stop girls travelling from the UK.

Detective Superintendent Sharn Basra. Credit: ITV News

Detective Superintendent Sharn Basra from Befordshire Police said: "In this country FGM is illegal.

"It's child abuse and it is violence against women. We won't tolerate it, we need to raise that awareness and we will take action."

Few survivors dare to speak out so FGM remains hidden, the victims hard to reach.