Nowhere to Turn: Gender-Based Violence in the Northern Triangle and its Impact on Migration


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While violence and insecurity are often cited as central drivers for northward migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America, much less attention is paid to the specific problem of gender-based violence and widespread impunity for its perpetrators as a factor affecting migration trends. More and more women, both alone or with their children, are fleeing Central America for survival. When security situations deteriorate in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, women often suffer doubly, as they face both the weaponization of violence, particularly physical and sexual violence, by powerful gangs, and the common threat of domestic violence at home. In some countries, this has exacerbated the tendency to migrate, despite a high likelihood of facing violence on the journey north and a slim likelihood of obtaining asylum in the United States.

What are the causes and consequences of violence against women in the Northern Triangle, and how can they be addressed? What is the relationship between violence against women and migration? How do the U.S. and Mexican governments respond to migrant women, including those who seek asylum? How should violence against women be taken into account in discussions about potential “safe third country” agreements?

To discuss these questions, the Inter-American Dialogue and the Seattle International Foundation are pleased to host “Nowhere to Turn: Gender-Based Violence in the Northern Triangle and its Impact on Migration.”

Follow this event on Twitter at #GenderviolenceNT and @The_Dialogue.


Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)


Eric Olson

Director, Central America, Seattle International Foundation (@Eric_Latam)


Corie O’Rourke

Immigration Staff Attorney, Ayuda

Claudia Maria Izaguirre Mejia

Executive Director, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Honduras 

Lindsay Jenkins

Protection Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Regional Office for USA and the Caribbean 


Manuel Orozco

Director, Migration, Remittances and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@remittancesIAD)