DETROIT, MI — Little girls as young as 6 thought they were taking
 a “special girls’ trip” or needed to make a long journey to see the 
doctor because their tummies hurt, according to a criminal 
complaint filed in federal court Thursday charging a Detroit
 emergency room doctor with female genital mutilation. Female
 mutilation is a religious and cultural practice most often found
 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but it is illegal in the United
 States and has been denounced as a violation of women and girls 
by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville, was expected to be 
arraigned in federal court Thursday afternoon on the felony
 charges, which the Justice Department said may be the first
 brought under a federal statute that criminalizes the practice, 
commonly known as FGM. Nagarwala is accused of performing 
the procedures on girls between the ages of 6 and 8, many of 
whom traveled across state lines to her office in Livonia, Michigan.
The young girls were confused about the reasons behind their visits
 to Nagarwala and told not to talk about the “secret procedure,”
 according to the complaint. A 7-year-old from Minnesota told an
 FBI forensic investigator that she screamed in pain when she
 “got a shot” after being told to take off her pants and underwear, 
and that she could “barely walk and felt the pain all the way down
 to her ankle,” the complaint reads.
Nagarwala, an emergency room doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, is a
 member of a religious and cultural community that practices FGM
 as a means of controlling girls' sexuality, the government said. 
She didn't perform the procedures at the hospital, according to
 the complaint.
Authorities said Nagarwala performed the procedures on “multiple
 minor girls,” both from Michigan and out-of-state, at her Livonia 
clinic. The FBI’s Detroit Division and Homeland Security
 Investigations investigated the case, with the assistance of the
 Livonia Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the
 Eastern District of Michigan and the FBI’s International Human
 Rights Unit, Criminal Investigative Division.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form
 of violence against women and girls,” Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel
 Lemisch said in a statement announcing the charges. “The practice
 has no place in a modern society.”
U.S. Attorney General Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. 
Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said the
 Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital
 mutilation in the United States and “will use the full power of the
 law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

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David Gelios, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division, 
called the allegations against Nagarwala “disturbing” and the 
practice itself “barbaric.”
Steve Francis, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and 
Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations
 (ICE-HSI) Detroit Field Office, said the allegations against
 Nagarwala “are made even more deplorable, given the
 defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the
While male circumcision does not affect the male sex organ, 
FGM damages female sex organs and both inhibits pleasure and
 causes severe pain and complications for women’s sexual and
 reproductive health, according to the group Equality Now. 
The ideology behind the practices is different, too, the group 
said, noting that FGM is a “patriarchal cultural tradition carried
 out with the intent of subjugating women and controlling their 
bodies,” while male circumcision is “not rooted in a blatantly 
discriminatory ideology.”
The World Health Organization said FMG has been internationally
 condemned as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
“It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes
 an extreme form of discrimination against women,” WHO said. “It 
is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights
 of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, 
security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and
 cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when
 the procedure results in death.”
The United States officially criminalized FGM in 2012 under
 18 U.S.C. 116, which also includes a travel ban prohibiting 
parents and others from taking minor girls out of the country 
to obtain the procedure. It is punishable by up to five years in
 prison, but Nagarwala could get anywhere from 10 years to
 life in prison if she is convicted of transportation of an individual
 with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

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