Female genital mutilation (FGM), which dates back over 2,000 years and is practised across many cultures and religions, typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. In some cases the vaginal opening is sewn up.
The ritual, often justified for cultural or religious reasons, is underpinned by the desire to control female sexuality.
It can cause longlasting mental and physical health problems including chronic infections, menstrual problems, infertility, pregnancy and childbirth complications.
World leaders have pledged to eradicate FGM by 2030, but campaigners say the ancient ritual remains deeply entrenched in many places.