New Mexico Must Step Up to Protect Girls from FGM
November 4, 2019
Several months ago, the sprawling ranch in New Mexico owned by the late Jeffrey Epstein, who before his death was embroiled in federal sex trafficking charges, made its own headlines. Now Epstein is back in the news after a bombshell claim from a forensic pathologist who reviewed his autopsy results.
Epstein never faced charges in New Mexico and, in fact, never had to register as a sex offender even after similar charges from a decade ago in Florida. At the time, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas had been quoted as saying that “New Mexico continues to lag behind the rest of the country in strengthening outdated and weak laws that fail to protect our children from abuse.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 35 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.
Besides New Mexico, the states without FGM laws in place are: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.