U.S. authorities have deported Khalid Adem, an Ethiopian man convicted in 2006 of mutilating the genitals of his 2-year-old daughter.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported Adem, 41, to his home country of Ethiopia earlier this month, after he had served 10 years in prison, according to CNN.
According to prosecutors, in 2001, Adem used a pair of scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in Gwinnett County, Ga.
Adem became the first person to be convicted of female genital mutilation in the United States in 2006, after federal authorities found him guilty of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
ICE’s Atlanta Emergency and Removal Operations Director Sean W. Gallagher said in a statement following Adem’s deportation, “A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime.
“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls as well as societies at large.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the practice of female genital mutilation is “most common in the western, eastern, and northeastern regions of Africa, in some countries [in] the Middle East and Asia as well as among migrants from these areas.”
ICE says since 2003, it has arrested at least 380 people and has deported 785 people for a range of human rights violations, including female genital mutilation.
“Female genital mutilation/cutting is a federal crime. Any involvement in committing this crime is a serious human rights violation, which may result in imprisonment and potential removal from the U.S. Individuals suspected of female genital mutilation/cutting, including sending girls overseas to be cut, may be investigated by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center,” ICE said.
The WHO says that the procedure “involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies. Generally speaking, risks increase with increasing severity of the procedure.”
Some of the attendant health complications from the procedure include chronic infection, childbirth difficulties and psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation, and intercourse.
The WHO says female genital mutilation has no proven medical benefits, and the reasons the procedure is done “vary from one region to another as well as over time and include a mix of socio-cultural factors within families and communities.”
Worldwide it is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women in 30 countries — mostly in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia– are victims of female genital mutilation.
In most of the African countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent, authorities have stepped up efforts to curb the practice, with many passing laws banning it altogether.
Last year, Somalia’s prime minister signed a petition calling for his government to ban it, and in 2015, Egypt made its first conviction for female genital mutilation when a doctor was found guilty of performing the procedure.