A British woman has been arrested for conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation (FGM), British police have said.
The 38-year-old woman was arrested at around 6:30pm GMT on Thursday after she arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport on a flight from Sierra Leone. She was taken to a West London police station, where she remains in custody.
The arrested woman is a British national who was born in Sierra Leone and was travelling with a 13-year-old girl, also from Sierra Leone.
Another girl, who is Nigerian, was put in the care of social services as a potential victim of trafficking. Her age has yet to be established.
The arrest was part of a week-long operation at Heathrow Airport aimed at preventing and detecting FGM, with the UK investing financial resources in bringing people suspected of the practice to justice.
In March, a doctor in London was one of two people charged in the UK’s first prosecution targeting FGM.
FGM is practised in parts of Africa where it is believed to be necessary for sexual purity before marriage.