A Gate at the Border?
Ms Kasinga arrived by plane in the United States in 1994. She had fled Togo where she had been forced into marriage and was about to be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). Her sister gave her money to buy the aeroplane ticket and she left the family home while the head of the household was out. Her sister drove her to the airport in Accra, Ghana and she took the first plane out—to Germany. According to reports of the case, Ms Kasinga lived in Dusseldorf for two months under an arrangement that she would cook and clean in exchange for board. She bought a passport from a man who advised her to go to the United States where she had a cousin and where she could make a claim for asylum. When she arrived in the United States at Newark Airport in December 1994 she immediately told the customs officer that she had travelled on a false passport and wanted to claim asylum.