A Haarlem man has been arrested on suspicion of having genitally mutilated his five-year-old daughter.

The man, of Moroccan origin, was taken into custody after the girl’s foster parents submitted a police report. While the report was filed in October, it has only now been made public.

Doctors have confirmed that the girl’s genitals have been mutilated, but the father has denied any responsibility in the incident. He has been charged with “grievous bodily harm,” and a trial has been set to begin this May.

Between summer 2007 and spring 2008, approximately 44 reports were made to child abuse hotlines about girls thought to have undergone genital mutilation, or were at risk. Deputy Health Minister Jet Bussemaker stated that she is concerned there are many more cases which do not end up being reported. Bussemarker has recently proposed measures aimed to protect girls whose parents come from places where the practice is prevalent. Under her proposals, before visiting their country of origin, parents must promise not to have their daughter be gentially mutilated; if this is not followed, parents could face being sentenced to prison.

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