EndFGMToday: New Mexico Must Step Up to Protect Girls!
As State Makes News for Epstein Investigation, New Mexico Is One of 16 States in America Where Women and Girls Are Still at Risk for Female Genital Mutilation
Washington, D.C.—Many media outlets, including ABC News, have reported that the sprawling ranch in New Mexico owned by Jeffrey Epstein, who has pled not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges, is also part of the investigation.
ABC reports that Epstein “has not faced criminal charges in New Mexico. But the scandal surrounding him has still sent a jolt through the rural southwestern state as it comes under scrutiny for laws that allowed him to avoid registering as a sex offender following a guilty plea a decade ago in Florida.”
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has been quoted as saying that “New Mexico continues to lag behind the rest of the country in strengthening outdated and weak laws that fail to protect our children from abuse. This is a huge black eye for our state.”
The national EndFGMToday campaign unequivocally agrees. And in fact, New Mexico is also behind 34 other states in protecting girls and women from the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM).
EndFGMToday advocates say they do not know of a bill that is in the works in New Mexico, which puts the state even further behind in much-needed state FGM legislation.
“As the New Mexico Attorney General very accurately stated, New Mexico is failing children,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “New Mexico must remedy its child protection laws immediately, including the introduction of a bill that specifically criminalizes female genital mutilation as the heinous crime it is. Lawmakers must step up to make child protection a priority—there is absolutely no excuse to delay one day longer.”
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed. The U.S. government has declined to appeal the decision.
“Mutilating little girls defies all standards of humanity and is a hideous violation of human rights—and the United Nations and World Health Organization have made this declaration,” Yore added. “Right here in the U.S., over half a million women and girls are at risk for the brutal and unnecessary procedure that leaves both physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.”
Besides New Mexico, the states without FGM laws in place are: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Yore also noted that over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel practice.