According to 2014 figures provided by the German Federal Statistical Office, Germany is home to some 16.4 million people of an immigrant background. While there are no official statistics on the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Germany, migration from African countries with a high prevalence of FGM has markedly increased in recent years.1)According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees report, Eritrea, for example, is among the top ten countries of origin of migrants to Germany, accounting for 10,876 applications for asylum by women in 2015 compared to 3,616 in 2013. Somalia has also been among the top ten countries of origin of applications for asylum in recent years (BAMF, 2015)

TERRE DES FEMMES (TDF) compiles an annual report on FGM in Germany, estimating the number of cases based on UNICEF worldwide prevalence data and national migration statistics. In calculating the likely number of cases, TDF distinguishes between girls and women who were born in Germany and those who have lived in countries of origin with a high prevalence of FGM. Since 2014, TDF has also included Asian diaspora communities in its calculation.

The steep rise in migration to Germany has led to a dramatic increase in the estimated number of affected and at-risk women and girls. TDF estimates that in 2016 over 48,000 women and girls in Germany were affected by FGM, with a further 9,300 at risk—a year-on-year increase of 37% in the number affected and 56% in those at risk. The increase is particularly marked in the case of migrants from Eritrea—the largest group of African asylum-seekers to Germany, accounting for a rise of 155% in the numbers at-risk and of 120% in those affected. (A complete overview of TDF figures is available online. TERRE DES FEMMES, 2016.)

More precise data on FGM in Germany is expected in 2017, with the release of research into African diaspora communities in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). The study will use qualitative and quantitative methods to establish diaspora communities’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards FGM, and the needs of affected women and girls.