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VideoMarch 6, 2024

Why do migrant women fail to report gender-based violence in Central America?

They walk up to 27 days in search of opportunities. If something happens to them on the way, they cannot report it and cannot access a health center. This is the reality of migrant women in Central America.

We interviewed Carlos Muñoz, violence prevention specialist at the World Bank, who explains the main barriers for migrant women to access gender-based violence services in the region.

What kind of difficulties do migrant women in transit face?

There are four main barriers to accessing gender-based violence services in the region. There are legal, social, institutional and physical barriers.

When we talk about physical barriers we identify that most service providers are not at an accessible distance for women.

When we talk about social barriers, what we identified in the region is that there is a normalization of violence, which means that women do not know that they are victims of violence and do not report it.

When we talk about legal barriers, what we identified in the region is that, on many occasions, if an event occurs in one country, it cannot be reported in another due to jurisdictional limitations.

When we talk about institutional barriers, what we realize is that gender-based violence services are not specialized to serve the migrant population.

This means that, if a woman accesses a service, it is very possible that it does not have the capacity to attend to the needs of this population specifically.

What could be a "quick fix" solution, or a solution that could be implemented in the first instance?

I believe that something that is very important in the region is inter-institutional coordination. And this inter-institutional coordination not only refers to work between countries, but also locally.

On many occasions the institutions in charge of this issue do not talk to each other, and for this reason we see that there is also a lot of duplication of efforts, and that is why resources are not being used in the most effective way.

I believe that we also need to strengthen the protocols that all these institutions have, so that they can provide a type of service that is focused on the migrant population, in this case the population of migrant women in transit.

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