NEWARK, NJ – Starting on June 19, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark initiated Operation Limelight USA, a program designed to bring awareness to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and prevent young girls from being subjected to FGM by informing passengers traveling to FGM high-prevalence countries about the U.S. laws governing FGM and the potential criminal, immigration, and child protective consequences of transporting a child to another country for the purpose of FGM.
This initiative is the U.S. based version of the United Kingdom’s Operation Limelight at Heathrow Airport conducted by the Metropolitan Police Service and Border Force. The pilot program was initiated at JFK International Airport last year and was incredibly successful. HSI has expanded Operation Limelight USA to additional airports around the country, focusing on those airports serving the largest FGM- prevalent diaspora communities. The operation at Newark International Airport met with similar success.
“Our aim here is three-fold regarding this brutal practice,” said Brett Dreyer, assistant special in charge, HSI Newark, and who led the efforts for Operation Limelight at JFK Airport last year and at Newark Airport this year. “Enforcement is a key piece here, but so is outreach and prevention. This is why we have partnered with other government agencies, NGOs and, most importantly, survivors and advocates from the community to share knowledge and resources so we may collectively end this practice.”
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