UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. children's agency is estimating that at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone female circumcision — half of them in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
A statistical report released Thursday night by UNICEF said the global figure includes nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014. It said this is due to population growth in some countries and new data from Indonesia.
The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta said "determining the magnitude of female genital mutilation is essential to eliminating the practice."