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Kent police at Ebbsfleet to help stop FGM

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 September 2019

Police carried out an awareness operation at Ebbsfleet International Station. Picture: Steve Poston

Police carried out an awareness operation at Ebbsfleet International Station. Picture: Steve Poston

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Worries about female genital mutilation of young girls, along with forced marriages of children, were highlighted in a Kent police operation at Ebbsfleet International.

The event was to encourage people to be alert to faith-related child abuse.

As well as at Ebbsfleet, officers were also at the ports of Dover and Cheriton.

It was part of a national multi-agency initiative in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service, UK Border Agency, British Transport Police and others.

Kent Police officers and staff attended the international station last week.

People using the station were spoken to by officers and given leaflets about the harmful practices affecting some children in the UK and abroad, in addition to other more common issues affecting young people in society today.

And those travelling to or from countries where such crimes are prevalent were also addressed.

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Det Supt Coretta Hine of Kent Police said: "We remain committed to identifying and protecting those who are vulnerable and potentially at risk of becoming victims to faith-related crimes and other harmful cultural practices.

"It is important that by working alongside our partners we strive to educate people about what is happening so they will be able to identify those at risk within their own communities, and know where to seek help.

"We also need communities and professionals to share information as to what is happening, who is involved and who is at risk. Information can be reported to us online at www.kent.police.uk/report, by calling 101 or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent on 0800 555111."

The World Health Organisation defines FGM as any procedure involving the removal or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

More than 140 million girls and women have undergone the procedure. There are no health benefits to FGM and it can cause serious harm including infertility, problems during childbirth and labour, and depression.

More information is available at www.nspcc.org.uk/fgm

And adults worrying a child is at risk of any abuse can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111. Anyone suspecting a child is in immediate danger should dial 999.

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