Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the practice of cutting and partially or entirely removing the external female genitalia, and also includes any other harm or injury caused to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

There are 200 million girls alive today who have undergone FGM and, without immediate action to bring the practice to an end, another 68 million girls will undergo FGM by 2030.

While activists around the world and organizations such as the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Unicef have been working tirelessly to eradicate the harmful procedure, countries in East and Southern Africa are experiencing a new barrier to bringing it to an end: cross-border FGM.

This is when girls living in a country where the tradition is banned are taken across national borders to a country where it is not against the law in order to undergo FGM.

This year in the effort to raise awareness around this form of gender-based violence, the UNFPA’s East and Southern Africa Region (ESARO) decided to focus on cross-border FGM as theme of the organization’s Zero Tolerance for FGM campaign over the month of February.

To better understand the impact of FGM and cross-border FGM in Africa, Global Citizen spoke to UNFPA ESARO Gender Specialist, Julie Diallo.

Read the full article about cross-border female genital mutilation by Khanyi Mlaba at Global Citizen.