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Despite the existence of criminal law, which is an important aspect of anti-FGM policies and programmes, there is not much research on the effects of cross-border practices that invalidate the law as a deterrent. Much remains unknown about the practice of cross-border FGM, specifically about gaps in existing policy and legislation for managing cross-border FGM, as well as whether the existing interventions in the cross-border areas are sufficiently targeted to facilitate changes in social norms.

The overall objective of this study was to assess the status of FGM in the cross-border areas in order to finalize the regional End Cross-border Female Genital Mutilation Action Plan. The results indicate that there is great need to harmonize legislation to allow cross-border collaboration on anti-FGM activities and to empower women and girls to make independent decisions that will change the trends in FGM in the focus communities.

Currently, there is no specific legislation at the regional level that prohibits FGM, making collaborative efforts to eliminate FGM in the individual countries using legal and policy measures difficult. This lack of harmonized laws between the countries has been a hindrance to law enforcement in the efforts to apprehend perpetrators who can easily enter and leave different jurisdictions.

Drawing on the major findings of the study, specific recommendations on legal and policy frameworks, anti-FGM programmes and research are made, including the development of a legal and policy framework that addresses cross-border FGM activities.