The estimate was published Tuesday by the women’s rights organization, Terre des Femmes, who said the increase was largely due to the influx of migrants from countries where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced.
“Due to the arrival of migrants from countries such as Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq, we have recorded a huge increase in the number of affected women and threatened girls,” said spokeswoman Charlotte Weil to DPA Tuesday, as cited by The Local.
Furthermore, there is currently more than 13,000 girls in Germany who are at risk of being forced into the procedure by their families, a 4,000 increase over last year, the group said.
“We don’t know of any cases where a girl was mutilated in Germany. It either takes place on a holiday back in their homeland, or during a visit to a practitioner in a city such as Paris or Amsterdam,” Weil added.
FGM is illegal in Germany, but is tolerated in many African countries as well as some in Asia. More than 200 million women worldwide are affected by female genital mutilation, according to Unicef.
While culturally entrenched in some countries, FGM is widely criticized by many health professionals and rights groups. The procedure may cause health problems depending on how exactly it is performed and has no health benefits.
Weil advised teachers to pay attention to young girls in their classes, especially if they share plans to go home for a “big festival.”
Some 280,000 migrants fled to Germany from their war torn and conflict ridden countries in 2016 – a decline on the 890,000 that arrived the previous year, according to Reuters.