In Haarlem a man has been arrested on suspicion of having genitally mutilated his five-year-old daughter. The man of Moroccan origin was taken into custody at the end of October after the girl’s foster parents had made a report to the police. The case has only now been made public. Doctors have confirmed that the girl’s genitals have been mutilated, but the father denies responsibility. He has been charged with grievous bodily harm. The case is expected to come to trial in May.
Between summer 2007 and spring 2008, 44 reports were made to child abuse hotlines about girls thought to have been genitally mutilated, or at risk of being so. Deputy Health Minister Jet Bussemaker is concerned that this may only be the tip of the iceberg.Â
Ms Bussemaker recently proposed measures aimed at protecting girls whose parents come from countries where genital mutilation is prevalent, such as Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. Parents would be asked to sign a contract before visiting their country of origin, promising not to have their daughter genitally mutilated. If on their return the girl were found to have been mutilated, they could then face a prison sentence.