Report: Minnesota girls, women among most at-risk for genital mutilation

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There are more than 37,000 girls and women in Minnesota who are at risk of being subject to genital mutilation or cutting.

That's according to a new report by the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. that says the victims are sometimes shipped out of the U.S., often to the family's home country, to have the cutting done.

The report says Minneapolis-St. Paul has the third-highest number of girls or women who are at risk of being victims of genital mutilation, at 37,417.

The D.C. area has 51,411, and New York 65,893.

The bureau's report found the number of women at-risk in the U.S. has more than doubled over the past decade. The data was released in conjunction with the United Nations' International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Where is female genital mutilation performed?

The 10 countries where genital mutilation or cutting is most commonly performed are all in Africa. (See the list at right.)

The African Development Center of Minnesota says the state is home to more than 100,000 immigrants from Africa.

And they make up a large percentage of the overall immigrant population.

In 2013, MinnPost reported that of all the immigrants seeking citizenship in Minnesota, 41 percent of them were coming from Africa.

More on genital mutilation and cutting

Female genital mutilation involves removing part, or all of, a woman's genitalia, the Equality Now foundation says, usually as a social or religious tradition.

The Daily Beast says it's viewed as a "rite of passage," and is used as an attempt to prevent girls from engaging in sexual activity before marriage.

It's often done without anesthetic, and can lead to long-term issues, such as pain during urination or sex, chronic infection, and increased risk during childbirth.

Female genital mutilation is recognized as a human rights violation.

The Population Reference Bureau notes in 2013, it became illegal in the U.S. to knowingly send a girl outside of the country for the purpose of cutting or mutilation.

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