FGM was outlawed in Kenya in 2011, alongside early marriage, but had continued in some communities. CNN met a mother and daughter who work as “cutters” in Nairobi, carrying out FGM on girls from Kenya and overseas.
“We sit down the girl, someone blindfolds her and lays her on the ground, then we cut, we cut three times … ”
Girls as young as eight are brought to the illegal “cutting room” to be mutilated. They are kept immobile in this grim, dark and grubby room after their ordeal. The “cutters” clean the wound every morning with ethanol spirit.
Two weeks after the mutilation the girls are untied and allowed to walk around the house.
If they are lucky, they are sent back to their daily routine after one month.
But many procedures end in tragedy because of infections caused by a lack of hygiene.
Why does this crime still have to happen?
Both “cutters” say they were genitally mutilated when they were aged eight or nine, they admitted it had hurt – almost unimaginably – but they claim it was the “right thing.”
“It is important, because when girls don’t get cut when they are young, they go after boys while they are still young and we don’t want that. We don’t want them to get spoiled, that’s why we do it.”
What these women are doing is vile and illegal. But they claim they are serving a need and – unless someone stops them – they will continue carrying out this barbaric procedure, in their grim, grubby room.