Published by: UNFPA
Year published: 2023

Cross-border female genital mutilation (FGM) takes place when communities cross national borders to perform FGM, circumvent laws and avoid prosecution. Using data from a recent cross-border study, this report aims to identify factors associated with the perception of the ease of cross-border FGM and the intention to perform FGM on daughters and female relatives in the border communities of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. A mixed-methods approach collected data from 1,483 respondents and 63 focus group discussions and used a logistic regression model for quantitative analysis and thematic analysis of qualitative data. Along borders such as those between Kenya and Somalia, and between Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, the majority of respondents stated that FGM laws and penalties are not adequately enforced. Along all borders, respondents who viewed cross-border FGM as easy to carry out had 2.6 times higher odds of intending to practise it. Significant factors influencing FGM intention included the perception that it was easier in border areas, the weak implementation of laws, having a female relative with FGM and the lack of a penalty for practising FGM. These factors differed across borders, however. Interventions targeting families with a history of FGM, the enactment and enforcement of laws specific to border areas in ways that reflect diverse contexts and collaborative efforts by governments across borders could help address the practice.