‘No girl is safe’

Ogoja, Nigeria – For most children, their birthday is a time of celebration. But that was not the case for Mirabel when she turned 10.

For Mirabel, a Cameroonian refugee living in Nigeria, turning 10 marked the start of gruelling daily torture – having her breasts ironed with hot stones by her mother.

Every morning, a neighbour from the refugee community where she lives in Ogoja, in Nigeria’s southeastern Cross River State, holds her legs firmly in place while her mother takes a burning hot pestle straight from the fire and presses it against her daughter’s chest in an attempt to flatten her breasts.

The procedure can be repeated for months, or even years, and is intended to either stop young girls developing breasts or to flatten them once they have.

I don’t even…