Every 11 seconds, a girl or a young woman is victim of genital mutilation – almost 3 million girls per year, in Africa and Asia, but also in Europe, the USA and Australia. It is estimated that at least 20,000 women who have been victims of FGM (female genital mutilation) as well as 4,000 girls who are at risk, are living at this moment in Germany.

This practice is mostly carried out without anesthesia and under catastrophic hygienic conditions, using objects like scissors, razor blades or pieces of broken glass.

Besides the inevitable psychological consequences, this procedure can cause severe physical injury and impairment on the girls. These include urinary and reproductive tract infections, caused by obstructed flow of urine and menstrual blood, blood poisoning, depression, various gynecological and obstetric problems. The FGM procedure that seals or narrows the vaginal opening, makes sexual intercourse and childbirth extremely painful and unbearable.

Those committed in this fight against FGM, will come across very complex and deeply rooted cultural structures: forced marriages, which reveal the financial interests of the families in handing out a “pure wife” to the future husband, one 5000 year old tradition, and not less important, the role played by genital mutilation in providing the circumcisers with an income. In order to make things happen, there is a coordinated approach urgently needed.

Waris Dirie has been fighting against Female Genital Mutilation for the last 12 years. With her public appearances, her books and the film adaption of her bestseller „Desert Flower“, the human rights activist is trying to raise awareness about this cruel Practice around the all world.

In order to put emphasis on her demand “STOP FGM NOW!“, Waris Dirie brought several organizations together and launched in February 2010 the combined international campaign “STOP FGM NOW!”. This campaign is trying to join forces in the fight against this barbarian ritual, in order to help the affected women, protect the endangered ones, and to convince the persons in charge