Campaigners have called for the community to play its part in protecting almost 3,000 girls at risk from female genital mutilation (FGM).
At a conference in the Dugdale Centre, in London Road, Enfield, survivors and activists spoke against the “horrific” abuse young girls and women suffer across the world.
Although it has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years, there are still fears that some 2,800 girls in the borough could be at risk from FGM.
Leading national campaigner and FGM survivor Alimatu Dimonekene said: “I do not want any girl to have to go through this torture. It is an assault on young girls removing parts of their genitals and subjecting them to a lifetime of discomfort, pain and infections. The mood is right for us to really do something about it.
“This conference will help us to create working programmes that address communities; educate people; use the law and support and treat any child or woman who has suffered the pain and fear caused by FGM. The aim is to end FGM within a generation. It is attracting huge attention.”
Cllr Ayfer Orhan, cabinet member for children’s services, schools and protection, said: “There is a strong determination to provide the services, support and education needed to prevent FGM. We must engage with our communities; be vigilant; produce public information and be there for any child or woman affected by it."
Baroness Lindsay Northover also spoke at the conference on Friday, March 20. She said: “Huge progress has already been made in ending this cruel practice. Last year’s Girl Summit, which was organised by the Government and involved many of today’s speakers, resulted in hundreds of high profile commitments to stop FGM in a generation.”