Britain's Sunday Times is reporting that as many as 100,000 women in the UK may have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) procedures-- with some medics allegedly offering to carry out the brutal surgery on girls as young as 10.
Though the practice carries a jail sentence of up to 14 years in Britain, the paper reportedly filmed a family doctor, a respected dentist, and an alternative medicine practitioner willing to carry out the illegal practice, or arrange for it to be done, on various females in Britain.
The procedure, which is widespread across Africa and parts of the Middle East, involves surgically removing external genitalia and, in some cases, the stitching of the vaginal opening, in an effort to reduce women's sex drive. The victims range in age from babies to young teens, and can often suffer long-term damage or be left in agony by the dangerous practice.
While Forward, a charity that campaigns against FGM, estimates that around 100,000 women in the UK are victims of the practice, Britain's Metropolitan police admits that it has received 166 reports of people who feared they were at risk for the procedure since 2008.
However, according to the Sunday Times, no one has ever been convicted of the offense.
Furthermore, only two doctors have been dismissed from the General Medical Council since 1980 on related charges.
While the dentist and doctor have since denied the claims, the paper is reporting that the doctor suggested taking young girls to Africa for the procedure. He also recommended a dentist he knew, and the dentist in question told the undercover reporter that he was personally willing to circumcise two girls, aged 10 and 13.
The supplier of alternative medicines allegedly told the undercover reporter that he would perform the procedure on a 10-year-old girl for £750 ($1,208).
Supermodel turned United Nations ambassador Waris Dirie, who was mutilated at age 5 in her home country of Somalia, has campaigned fervently against the practice.
"If a white girl is abused, the police come and break down the door," she said.
"If a black girl is mutilated, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism."
NewsCore contributed to this report.