The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has initiated a pilot program at JFK Airport focusing on female genital mutilation (FGM) in an effort to protect young women from the illegal practice.
The program, called “Operation Limelight USA,” aims to inform passengers who are traveling to countries where there is high-prevalence of FGM and the consequences of brining a child overseas for the purposes of FGM.
The initiative is based on the U.K.’s Operation Limelight being implemented at London’s Heathrow Airport and enforced by the Metropolitan Police Service and Border Force.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) also plans to expand Operation Limelight USA to other U.S. airports, focusing on areas that have the biggest “FGM-prevalent diaspora communities,” according to American Security Today.
Practiced in several African countries, FGM is done so that young women will not lose their virginity, have lesser sexual desire and be discouraged from having extramarital sex.
Special Agent Angel M. Melendez of HSI New York said: “Performing FGM on a child is a cruel and brutal act.”