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Stickers in Airport Bathrooms can Save Women from Female Genital Mutilation

Female air travelers in the United Kingdom are being given new methods of contacting authorities when in dire situations. The nationally organized Red Triangle campaign has begun placing stickers within bathroom stalls for women who are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and other sex related crimes.

The campaign’s color-coded stickers help to identify where at-risk individuals are within a given space. If a woman feels to be in danger for any reason, she simply heads to the nearest restroom, dials 101, and tells the operator which color stall she is in.

Authorities will then intervene in a manner that will rescue the individual from their situation.

While exact numbers are not available, a spokeswoman for the West Midlands Police told reporters that the program has seen success.

“We have had a number of girls who have contacted us, who have been stopped by the Border Agency, who have talked about the red triangle. They haven’t been taken abroad as a result of the badges,” she explained.

The stickers are part of a larger campaign by the UK government to subvert every social issue from FGM to drug trafficking to domestic abuse.

While FGM has been illegal in the United Kingdom for over three decades, criminal prosecutions have been mysteriously absent. This is despite a reported 1,030 FGM cases within the European nation between January and March of 2018. British nationals and citizens are prohibited to travel abroad for the medical procedure, but it still happens on a regular basis.

This statistic proves the motive for the Red Triangle campaign.

The same spokeswoman for the West Midlands Police said, “This is the only scheme of its kind in the country and the stickers have been strategically placed mainly on male and female toilet cubicle doors that are airside, after people have passed security so that exit routes are blocked.”

And while the campaign has had success, plans to keep the campaign discreet have now been compromised due to social media. While social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have praised the campaign and helped publicize it for at-risk individuals, critics say it may now be jeopardized due to such publicity.

Furthermore, this publicity could make perpetrators aware of the issue and allow them to take steps to circumvent the measure.

This is critical as women from many African communities are at risk of the practice. Individuals from countries such as Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are especially prone to the problem.

Nonetheless, authorities are happy with the results. With an estimated 144,000 girls in England and Wales at risk of FGM, and another 2.8 million worldwide, the Red Triangle campaign promises to be a new tool in the fight against human rights abuses.

To learn more about FGM and other global issues, head to NYMM’s “Be Informed” page.

Featured Image by christian ferrer on Unsplash

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