THE way to stop female genital mutilation in Scotland is to tackle the problem in Africa, according to UK overseas aid minister Lynne Featherstone.
As revealed last month, between 2000 and 3000 women living in Scotland have suffered from the practice, almost all overseas.
Ms Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat minister at the Department for Inter-national Development, yesterday visited Glasgow to meet some of them.
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She said: "Home and abroad are intrinsically linked. Africa has led the way on beginning to try to end the practice that has lasted 4000 years. They took it to the UN, which banned it worldwide. But we have a disapora in the UK where an estimated 20,000-24,000 girls are at risk every year."
Although there is concern that girls may suffer FGM in Scotland, it is thought most are subjected to the practice overseas, before they came to Scotland or because they were taken abroad for it to be carried out.
Aware of this, DFID has earmarked £1 million of a £35m FGM aid fund for the UK.
Ms Featherstone spoke to survivors of the practice at Glasgow-based charity Roshni. Anela Anwar, of Roshni, agrees work must be done to deal with the "root causes" of FGM abroad, but added: "That doesn't mean we don't need to provide services for survivors here."