On Monday, Koita, a leading figure in the campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), will join other high-profile activists at the United Nations to drum up support for a global ban on a practice forced on millions of children every year.

“FGM is horrific, brutal, degrading and indefensible,” said Koita, who was born in Senegal and now lives in Brussels. “My big hope is that one day no girl will have to go through what I have been through.”

The move to stamp out FGM – which is widely practised in Africa and pockets of the Middle East and Asia – is being driven by African member states of the United Nations, led by Burkina Faso.

They are now applying the finishing touches to a draft resolution banning FGM to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly in early October. It is expected to be adopted in December.

An estimated 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM, which can cause serious physical and emotional damage. Campaigners liken the psychological effects of FGM to those of rape.  

“It is important that women like me who have suffered so much from this humiliation … and who have the privilege to be able to shout our rage, that we do so for those who can’t,” said Koita, founder of campaign group La Palabre