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VideoMarch 6, 2024

The consequences of Gender-Based Violence in Central American migration contexts

As part of our dialoges about Gender-Based Violence in Central America migration contexts, we interviewed Ana I. Aguilera, Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, who shares some of the main consequences for women who go through a tough and long migration process across Central American countries.

According to a World Bank report, more than 40% of women who migrate in Central America have witnessed physical, sexual and psychological violence. To talk about this, today we are talking to Ana Aguilera, who is a Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank.

What are the consequences, the after-effects, that these migrant women are left with?

Women who transit through Central America have witnessed some type of violence along their migratory route. Despite this, only 10% end up being reported and this has very important consequences both for the migrant women and for their children, their families, as well as for the communities or countries that receive them.

Many times these women manage, of course, to integrate into a foreign, new country, not knowing a little about the systems where to register the child and manage to get a job, but sometimes they cannot keep that job because they have trauma and consequences that can be medical and psychological.

These consequences do not remain with the women, they have an impact on the families and then on the societies, do they not? This is important to emphasize.


And within this very tough context there are many challenges, but are there any opportunities?

Yes, indeed. At the Bank we have done several studies both in the region and globally, which show that migration is an opportunity for development. It is typically a driver and it is one of the most successful strategies to get out of poverty.

Even when these migrant women or women in transit are very vulnerable; even when they are refugees and need protection, their economic, social and cultural contribution to the economies, to the destination communities outweighs the costs. This does not imply, let's say, that there are no fiscal costs to take care of them, but their contribution is much, much greater. Why?

Because these women who migrate are women who are entrepreneurs, who are taking their lives into their own hands and who effectively want to make a contribution. Typically, we know that women who migrate have a different profile.

The international community I think has done for decades an important job in documenting the benefits of migration at the economic level. But still, the discourse is generally controversial and I think there is a lot of literature that demonstrates the economic benefits of migration, but the barriers are social, the barriers to integrating these people are social, they are political. And it is also important to inform about these benefits, which are economic, but they are also cultural.

Interviewer: Álvaro G. de Pablo, Communications Associate at The World Bank