Crossing Mexican borders, violence and HIV
R. Leyva1, C. Infante2, F. Quintino3, M. Sanchez3
1Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Centro de Investigación en Sistemas de Salud, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 2National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, CHSR, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 3National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Background: Mexico is a country of origin, transit and destination of migrants. It is estimated that more than 500,000 undocumented migrants from Central America and Mexico try to cross the Mexico-US border. The 2009 Report of the Mexican Human Rights Commission informs that both Mexican and Central American migrants suffer from different forms of violence, including rape. The objective is to analyze the frequency and distribution of sexual violence in migrants in transit to the US in both the Mexican-Guatemalan and the Mexico-US border.
Methods: A total of 692 migrants were interviewed at the Mexican-Guatemalan border, and 570 at the Mexico-US border. We obtained socio-demographic information, migratory experience, health status, and self report of sexual violence. A descriptive analysis (logistic regression model) was carried out in order to identify the factors related to sexual violence.
Results: Women have 6.3 times more possibility to suffer sexual violence in comparison with men. This result was adjusted by other socio-demographic variables such as age, education, marital status, ethnicity, migratory status, history of deportation, and the place where the migrant was interviewed (northern or southern border). The possibility to suffer sexual violence increases as much as 3.1 times as the migrant reaches the northern border.
Conclusions: Sexual violence in migrants in transit thorough Mexico, is being determined by both gender differences and the migration process itself. The transit through Mexico to the US increases the risks of sexual violence independently of migrant´s country of origin. It seems that the aggressors do not ask for documents to rape and assault migrants. There is no difference in the frequency of violence between Mexicans and Central American migrants. Violence is a structural phenomenon that increases the risk of HIV transmission and human rights violations of migrants in transit to the US.
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