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Channel 4 commissions documentary on Female Genital Mutilation

Channel 4 has commissioned Love Productions to make an hour-long documentary with female genital mutilation (FGM) survivor and campaigner Leyla Hussein.

FGM involves the partial or total removal of external female genital organs, which are cut off frequently without anesthetic. Survivors are usually aged between four and 10, but some are babies. The procedure, which is practised in some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK - as well as across the world - is often carried out in secret and leaves victims in agony. Survivors are often left with lifelong physical problems and psychological trauma, and some die.

Leyla and fellow campaigners have launched an e-petition asking the Home Office to take responsibility for ending FGM in the UK, as opposed to the current arrangements where a number of government departments share responsibility.

Leyla Hussein, a victim of the cultural practice and co-founder of the anti-FGM charity Daughters of Eve, said: “This is a child protection issue; it is about violence and child abuse. I am demanding somebody has to be responsible for this.”

Sara Ramsden, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual, said: “The statistics for this horrendous procedure are frightening and highlight what a problem this is here in the UK - more than 65,000 women living in Britain have fallen victim and a further 24,000 are said to be at risk – and yet there have been no prosecutions in the UK.”

The as-yet untitled documentary is filming Leyla’s campaign over the summer and will be broadcast in the autumn.

The petition is http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52740

The documentary is produced by Love Productions and executive produced by Kieran Smith.

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