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England, Wales have new law on female genital mutilation

New law in England, Wales demands teachers report female genital mutilation cases to police

England, Wales have new law on female genital mutilation

LONDON (AP) -- A new law requiring professionals to report cases of female genital mutilation to police for those under 18 is being introduced in England and Wales, but some opponents of the practice warn the law could make girls reluctant to seek medical care.

The law taking effect Saturday makes it a crime not to notify police when health care workers, social workers or teachers see someone under 18 who has had their genitals removed or damaged for non-medical reasons.

The goal is to intensify a government crackdown on the practice of removing external genitalia in young girls, which was made a crime here in 2003. It is seen as a form of child abuse and violence against women.

The practice is still widespread in some parts of Africa.