POLITICS

Desperate Plea For Theresa May To Save Three-Year-Old Girl From Female Genital Mutilation

Heartbreaking story of Lola Ilesamni to feature on Channel 4 News.

05/07/2017 13:51 | Updated 06 July 2017

A three-year-old girl faces female genital mutilation (FGM) if her family is deported, the Prime Minister was warned today.

Hannah Bardell MP made a desperate appeal for Theresa May to intervene in the case of Lola Ilesanmi, whose toddler Dara faces becoming a victim of the brutal and bloody crime if sent back to Nigeria by the Home Office. 

Bardell set out a “harrowing” catalogue of abuse Ilesanmi has suffered at the hands of her husband because the mum refused to allow her daughter to be mutilated.  

It included a knife being held to Ilesamni’s throat, being forced to have an abortion and being “beaten black and blue”. 

The Prime Minister told the MP “we will not accept FGM in this country” but did not address the issue of Ilesanmi’s deportation threat. 

In today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the SNP’s Bardell, who represents Livingston, said: “Her face smashed with an Ipad, her body beaten and forced to abort a baby girl; this is only some of the domestic abuse faced by my constituent Lola Ilesanmi has faced by her estranged husband because she has refused the genital mutilation of her daughter. 

“Lola is educated, has a mortgage and had a good job with RBS until the Home Office revoked her right to work. 

“I have been writing to the Home Office since March and have got nowhere, so will the Prime Minister now intervene and stop this family being deported and this three-year-old girl being subject to female genital mutilation?”

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May pledged a crackdown on FGM in 2014, when she was Home Secretary

 May replied: “I say to the honourable lady that the Home Secretary has heard the case that she has set out here today. 

“The issue of FGM is one on which I think we are all agreed across this whole House. It is an abhorrent activity. It shouldn’t be taking place. 

 “Great efforts have been made over recent years, both in terms of strengthening the law in terms of FGM but also on getting information out about this issue and trying to support people in communities where there is a practice of FGM. 

“I think the message has to go out from this House today, we will not accept FGM in this country.” 

Female genital mutilation involves the removal of the clitoris, inner-and-outer lips of the vagina, and the sewing or stapling together of the two sides of the vulva leaving only a small hole to pass urine and menstruate. 

It is usually performed using a razor blade and on girls between the ages of four and 12, and typically without anaesthetic. 

Often, it leaves the victim with severe mental and physical side effects, including pain, bleeding, complications during child birth, infertility and, in the worst cases, death.

Ilesanmi’s story featured on tonight’s Channel 4 News.

Channel 4 News
Ilesamni is interviewed on Channel 4 News

There have been 5,391 recorded cases of FGM in the UK but not one successful prosecution, despite May pledging a crackdown in 2014, when she was Home Secretary.

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, Bardell said: “Lola’s testimony is harrowing. She had her face smashed with an iPad, her body beaten black and blue, repeatedly forced to have sex with her husband, forced to abort a baby girl and finally, a knife held to her throat - all because her estranged husband wants to send Dara back to Nigeria to have her circumcised.

“The Prime Minister previously announced new legislation to prosecute parents failing to prevent their daughters being cut. That is exactly what my constituent is trying to do, she is desperate to protect her daughter from this horrifying mutilation.

“I’m asking the Prime Minister to intervene now to stop this wee girl from being deported and mutilated, time is running out.”

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