Shocking figures have revealed that 640 females have been treated for genital mutilation at a Birmingham hospital.
Heartlands Hospital, in Bordesley Green, is one of six centres in the UK which is a specialist centre for victims of the sick ritual.
Statistics released by the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children show that of the 1,700 victims in the past two years, almost 40 per cent have been from the West Midlands area.
Now the charity has launched a helpline for children who feel they are at risk.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK.
This illegal and life-threatening initiation ritual can leave young victims in agony and with physical and psychological problems that can continue into adulthood.
The rituals are carried out in secret and often without anaesthetic.
Victims are usually aged between four and 10, but some are babies.
Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid is supporting the launch of the helpline after dealing with a number of cases.