The 29-year-old man allegedly told a passenger that the girl had a small cut and that FGM was carried out “so women don’t feel sexy all the time”
A taxi driver who allowed painful female genital mutilation to be carried out on a seven-year-old girl was arrested after he told a passenger about it, a court heard.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly told a charity worker who campaigned against FGM that the girl had had a small cut, and that the practice was carried out “so women don’t feel sexy all the time”.
The 29-year-old driver is said to have told the customer: “I did the small one to (the child)…other people did the big one but I did the small one.”
The charity worker then tipped off police, and an examination of the girl showed that damage had been done, Bristol Crown Court heard.
FGM is the ritual of cutting or removing of some or all of the external female genitalia, and is illegal in Britain.
Despite what the man said in the cab, prosecutors do not believe he did the procedure himself – but “exposed” the child to the painful act.
He has been charged with cruelty to a child under the age of 16 years, and having responsibility for a child under that age wilfully assaulting/ill-treating/abandoning a child or young person to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.
It is not known when the procedure was carried out on the girl, who was examined in May last year.
Prosecutor Anna Veigars said: “It is a practice which is illegal in this country and becoming illegal in countries around the world.
”But there are some communities in Africa and the Middle East where it is common.
“It is a practice designed to keep women in their place. It involves damage to the genitals and the message is ‘you are not in a satisfactory condition when you are born.’
“It is not something which is medically necessary.”
The child was said to have been subjected to Type 4 FGM, defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘all other harmful procedures’.
This could involve pricking with a hot needle, but is not considered one of the most severe forms.
The defendant had picked up anti-FGM campaigner Sami Ullah from Temple Meads station in Bristol, the court was told.
Mr Ullah was a junior trustee for charity Integrate and asked the driver if he knew what FGM was – which he did not.
When he still did not understand, Mr Ullah used the Somali word.
The driver responded by making a symbol with his hand as he held onto the steering wheel, and said: “You mean cutting?”, the court was told.
Giving evidence, Mr Ullah said: “He then said that it was very wrong and I agreed with him. Then he said ‘I did the small one to (the child). Other people did the big one but I did the small one.”
The driver said it happened in the Montpelier area of Bristol, and when Mr Ullah asked if he knew it was illegal, he said it was “custom and tradition” and “some people did it and some people don’t”.
Mr Ullah said: “He asked me ‘do you know why we do it?’ and said ‘it’s so women don’t feel sexy all the time.'”
After the conversation in the cab on March 9, 2016, Mr Ullah returned to the charity’s offices and contacted police.
The girl was found to have a mark inside the clitoral hood, described as a “small lesion,” the prosecutor said.
A community paediatric worker sent photos to a specialist in London, who examined the little girl months later and found the mark had healed – which the prosecutor said showed she had not been born with the damage.
The procedure which was allegedly carried out in an inner city area in Bristol.
The case continues.
Credit: Daily Mirror UK