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BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1993 Aug 21; 307(6902):460.Female genital mutilation, also misleadingly known as female circumcision, is usually performed on girls ranging in from 1 week to puberty. Immediate physical complications include severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death. Longterm problems include chronic pain, difficulties with micturition and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth. An estimated 80 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation. In Britain alone an estimated 10,000 girls are currently at risk. Religious, cultural, medical, and moral grounds rationalize the custom which is practiced primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world, Malaysia, Indonesia, and among migrant populations in Western countries. According to WHO it is correlated with poverty, illiteracy, and the low status of women. Women who escape mutilation are not sought in marriage. WHO, the UN Population Fund, the UN Children's Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have issued declarations on the eradication of female genital mutilation. In Britain, local authorities have intervened to prevent parents from mutilating their daughters. In 1984, the Inter-African Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting Women and Children was established to work toward eliminating female genital mutilation and other damaging customs. National committees in 26 African countries coordinate projects run by local people using theater, dance, music, and storytelling for communication. In Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US women have organized to prevent the practice among vulnerable migrants and refugees.