Winner of the 2006 Prix France Télévisions
According to Amnesty International, an estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), and two million girls a year are at risk of mutilation - approximately 6,000 per day. It is practiced extensively in more than 28 African countries as well as Asia. Until now, this procedure was considered irreversible. Yet now, thanks to the brave efforts of Doctor Pierre Foldes, the renowned French urologist and surgeon, more than a thousand women have thus far undergone his unique and pioneering technique of clitoral reconstitution and been given relief from chronic pain and even a chance to experience sexual pleasure for the first time. Director of Médecins du monde (Doctors of the World), Dr. Foldes first encountered the traumatic effects of excision 25 years ago while he was working as a humanitarian doctor in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and women came to him complaining of scarring and pain. He began operating and as he did so, performed some reconstructive surgery. The surgery had to be carried out secretly because of death threats from community members. Later, when it became known he was continuing his operations in France, the death threats continued. He persisted, undeterred, explaining, “Excision is worse than rape because the family are involved.” He refuses to charge for the operations because he considers his patients to be victims of one of the greatest crimes against humanity. “Victims shouldn’t pay for the crimes against them. These women have already paid a huge price," he says. His inspiring and tireless struggle to help these victims reminds us of the extent of this humanitarian crisis in Africa, Egyptand the world at large, which thanks to Pierre Foldes is no longer definitive.