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Living as a Migrant in Mexico: Work, Safety and Aid for Central American Women in Migration

Presenters Name: 
Sarah Corning
Primary Research Mentor: 
Denise Walsh
Secondary Research Mentor: 
1:00 - 1:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 1:00pm to 1:15pm
Room 481
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

Women are making up more of those fleeing Central America, specifically the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), with the goal of a safer life for themselves and their families. This report seeks to answer several questions about the transit period is like for women—what challenges do they face, what is the nature of the violence faced, what assistance do they receive? I spent five weeks in Tapachula, Chiapas Mexico working with the United Nations International Rescue Committee. My report is divided into two sections. First, I offer an overview of existing literature on violence against women in Central America, and the relationship between human trafficking, migration and gender-based violence. The section includes a case study of Honduras, completed through an in-depth interview. I outline the necessary considerations when aiding women in transit who have experienced and/or are likely to experience GBV. Second, I explore the Tapachula case of a transit city, focusing on women’s migration experience in relation to labor and GBV. I identify the risks faced by migrant women, and how local and international organizations provide aid. The second section of my article was done through semi-structured interviews with civil society organizations, aid organizations, and governmental agencies. The top concerns are safe work opportunities, childcare, and bodily safety. Migrant insertion into the labor market is quite difficult, and migrants face challenges receiving adequate medical care. This report was given to the UN IOM office and their partners to help with the aid response in the city.