Kjønnslemlestelse er forbudt ved lov i Kenya. Likevel lemlestes det over en lav sko i områder i landet der tradisjonen har dype røtter, melder BBC.co.uk. Jenter ned i niårsalderen flykter for å unnslippe. Tradisjonen står så sterkt i provinsen Nyanza, at foreldre som selv er motstandere av praksisen, hjelper jentene på flukt, mens politiet gjør sitt beste for å beskytte jentene i kirker mot å bli trakassert eller hentet ut med tvang.
The girls, some as young as nine, are at two rescue centres in rural Nyanza province, police told the BBC.
Female circumcision is banned in Kenya, but remains common in some areas where it is considered to be part of a girl’s initiation into womanhood.
The traditional ceremonies take place between November and December.
The girls in Kuria District are now in the care of the two churches and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, a women’s organisation.
Police are providing security at the centres to ensure that the girls are not forcibly removed or harassed.
Beatrice Robi, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake’s district chairperson and a gender activist, says that at least 200 girls are undergoing circumcision in the district a day. She said she had found a seven-year-old girl who had just been circumcised.
«There are more girls who are still in their homes and they are undergoing it [circumcision], whether it is voluntarily or they are being forced,» she told the BBC.
She says her organisation along with the local churches and authorities have been trying to convince the community to stop the practice and rescuing girls from forced circumcision.
Paul Wanjama, the commanding officer in Kuria District, says girls in the region usually flee to the rescue centres until the season ends.
He said that in some cases, parents encourage the girls to go to the rescue centres to avoid being circumcised.
«There are some parents who are against that [FGM practice] but they get pressure from these traditional people,» he told the BBC.
De fleste jentene som lemlestes opplever at de slik gjøres klar for ekteskap. De dropper derfor ut av skolen. Noen av overgrepene, melder BBC, fører til straffeforfølgelse (uten at dette spesifiseres, vår merknad).
Girls who undergo circumcision feel that they are ready for marriage and do not go back to school when the term begins in January leading to a high drop-out rate, Mrs Robi said.
She appealed to other girls to seek refuge in the centres until the end of the traditional ceremonies and praised the local police for their support.
Mr Wanjama says some cases of forced circumcision had been reported to the police and legal action has been taken.
I Kenya kjønnslemlestes 50 prosent av jentene. Det er lite informasjon om hvilke etniske eller religiøse grupper som praktiserer kjønnslemlestelse (Female Genital Mutiltaion. A Guide to Laws and Politics Worldwide, 2000).