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An Underground FGM Clinic in Nairobi that’s Fully Booked

In a “good month”, about 100 girls will be brought by their families to Halima Hirsi to undergo female genital mutilation. Families come here from all over the world, willing to pay $150 a time for their daughters to be cut. “The Somali diaspora are good people for my business,” says Hirsi, 69, the manager of the clinic, who also carries out procedures. The clinic is located in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi, which is known locally as “little Mogadishu”. It mostly receives Somali clients from Europe – particularly the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway – and the United States. FGM is illegal in Kenya; it has been since both the practice and procurement of it were banned in 2011. Theoretically, practitioners and brokers can be jailed and fined. The minimum punishment is three years imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. But there are no official statistics on the number of people who have been prosecuted, and judges can be reluctant to punish offenders who are often parents responsible for the care of their children.