DETROIT (WWJ) – A Henry Ford Hospital doctor has been arrested, facing federal charges for allegedly performing female genital mutilation on young girls.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 44-year-old Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, of Northville, Michigan, is charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia.
According to the criminal complaint, some of the minor victims traveled from other states to have Nagarwala perform the procedure — which typically involves the surgical removal of a female’s clitoris or labia, sometimes for religious or cultural reasons.
Authorities say the girls ranged from approximately 6 to 8 years old.
One alleged victim, 7-year-old Minnesota resident, told an FBI agent she was bought by her parents to Detroit with another child for what she was told was a “special girls trip.” Once she arrived, she was told she and the other girl had to go to the clinic “because our tummies hurt,” and that the procedure preformed by the doctor would “get the germs out.” The girl said she was told not to tell anyone about it.
[View a copy of the complaint. Note: Contains graphic language/details]
This is believed to be the first case brought under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM. Nagarwala is also charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and making a false statement to a federal officer.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States. The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch, in a media release.
“The allegations detailed in today’s criminal complaint are disturbing. The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to doing whatever necessary to bring an end to this barbaric practice and to ensure no additional children fall victim to this procedure,” added FBI Special Agent in Charge David Gelios.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM is “an international recognized violation of human rights of girls and women.”
The Henry Ford Health System website lists Nagarwala as working in Emergency Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Nagarwala does not actually work at the clinic where the alleged crimes took place.
She was scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit Thursday afternoon.
The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of FGM, involving Nagarwala or otherwise, at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984). Tips can also be submitted online at FBI.gov/FGM.