IOM Trains Salvadorian Officials on Assistance to Vulnerable, Sick Migrants

Posted: 
02/13/15

El Salvador - In a two-day workshop this week, IOM trained 20 Salvadorian officials to improve assistance for returnees living with diseases such as HIV and AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Participants included officials working in the areas of migration and foreign affairs, police officers stationed at border entry points, and staff working at migrant reception centres.

The workshop was part of IOM’s USAID-funded project: “Assistance to Returning Families and Unaccompanied Children in the Northern Triangle of Central America”.

According to official figures from October 2013 to the end of 2014, over 60,000 unaccompanied minors were detained at the southern US border after entering the country illegally. Currently, many families and minors are facing deportation proceedings.

Migration drivers include poverty, threats from gangs, and lack of economic opportunities.  Smugglers also promote misconceptions about asylum in the US in order to increase their deadly business.

A significant number of women and children who make the journey face many dangers, including sexual abuse and extortion.  There is very little protection against this type of violence.

IOM plans to provide specialized training to over 120 staff from different government institutions, NGOs and civil society organizations who work with mobile populations. The emphasis will be on families, children and adolescents returning to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Through this initiative, coordinated by IOM and the STD/HIV-AIDS National Program of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of El Salvador, participants will receive training on comprehensive care to returnees in vulnerable situations.

"This workshop has been very useful for us who work in the field, especially since it is focused on prevention.  I will share this information with a group of young women living in rural areas to raise awareness about this issue,” said Nerys de Lopez, a technician from the Salvadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Salvadorian health ministry, with support from IOM, provided participants with various tools and techniques for comprehensive care on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.  The workshop focused directly on vulnerable people, including LGBTI people and women exposed to sexual assault.

For Dr. Humberto Andreu, a medical technician, these trainings are urgently needed: “This is the first training of this type, which brought together individuals serving mobile populations to enhance their skills on prevention, for them to relay their knowledge and, above all, to put what we learned into practice.”

The trainings aim to build capacities and create awareness among IOM partners that work directly with families and children returnees.

For more information please contact

Miguel Gomez

IOM El Salvador

Email: miggomez@iom.int

Tel: +503 2521-0500.