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FGM in Kenya: 'Cutters' Tell Tales

FGM in Kenya: 'Cutters' Tell Tales

Prisca Korein, a 62-year-old traditional surgeon, holds razor blades before carrying out female genital mutilation on teenage girls from the Sebei tribe in Bukwa district, about 357 kms (214 miles) northeast of Kampala, December 15, 2008. | REUTERS/James Akena

While young girls run around parks and enjoy playing with friends in other areas of the world, some girls as young as eight can't have the freedom of play since they are still in pain from female genital mutilation (FGM).

In the slums of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a mother and daughter tandem hidden by the names Hawa and Fatima shared to CNN how they are illegal "cutters" in town. While FGM has been illegal in Kenya since 2011, many families practice the grisly tradition as tradition says a woman's sexual desires will be quenched when part or all of the external female genitalia is removed.

Girls who are forced by their parents to undergo the process are held down by as many as five women and are even tied to ropes. "We sit down the girl, someone blindfolds her and lays her on the ground, then we cut, we cut three times, then you put the [alcohol], you...pour it on the wound; the [alcohol] is a bit painful but it stops the bleeding," one of the cutters said.

The outlet says many other communities are practicing the tradition and is handed down from generation to generation.

Fatima said she believes that she and her mother are moral code enforcers "on behalf of the community," and though the procedures are extremely dangerous since the process is done in unhygienic locations, Fatima clarified that what they are doing is to keep the girls from being "spoiled."

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"It is important, because when girls don't get cut when they are young, they go after boys while they are still young and we don't want that. We don't want them to get spoiled, that's why we do it," she clarified.

After the girls are cut, the legs are tied as tradition requires and forced to lay down and stay immobile for weeks. They are covered with a blanket and ordered to drink tea. Fatima said it's important that the "cut" girls do not feel cold.

The wounds are cleaned every morning with ethanol spirit, and after two weeks, the girls get untied, and on the fourth week, the girls are then allowed to go about with their lives.

Fatima and Hawa are known among their people as practitioners of FGM and they are only two of the many people who believe that female circumcision should be a norm.

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