A new law regarding female genital mutilation in the UK could see thousands of women with genital piercings classed as crime victims.
The UK's National Health Service is currently expanding their legislation about female genital mutilation, and doctors will now be required to record any labia or clitoris piercing as mutilation, even if the piercing was carried out with the woman's full consent and as a paid-for procedure.
In the majority of cases, genital piercing is a purely cosmetic procedure which many women get to improve sensitivity to the area. However this may not be the case in other parts of the world and the NHS is keen to avoid ambiguity in the law.
"While there are challenges in this area and adult women may have genital piercings, in some communities girls are forced to have them," said a spokesperson for the UK's Department of Health.
“The World Health Organisation has quite rightly defined this as a form of FGM [female genital mutilation]. We are taking every precaution to record genital piercings that have been done within an abusive context.”
There has already been a lot of uncertainty and debate about whether "designer vagina" cosmetic surgeries, like labia reduction, should be classed as FGM, so this current change in the law will no doubt fuel the discussion even further.