POLICE chiefs are warning people to be on the lookout for youngsters being taken overseas for female genital mutilation over the half-term break.
Children in Bolton and across Greater Manchester might be vulnerable, police said, as adults often use school holidays to take young girls to Africa, Asia and the Middle East where the procedure, which has been illegal in the UK since 1985, is most prevalent.
In late August and early last month, police intercepted 20 families at Manchester Airport, mostly on flights to Africa.
Jim Battle, Greater Manchester’s deputy police and crime commissioner, said: “Female genital mutilation is child abuse, plain and simple.
“It’s essential people feel able to come forward, ask for and get help if they are worried about themselves or know someone else who may be at risk of being criminally assaulted in this way.
"We have been working with partners across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of this criminal barbaric practice, and make sure that frontline health, social and education professionals know how to spot the signs and fully support victims.”