Protection for migrant women fleeing violence in Central America

Help us protect the human rights of migrant women

Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, A.C.

Gender Equality

Our story

Marta was forced to leave Honduras after her husband was killed by criminal gangs. She took her 6-month-old son, Sebastian, with her and boarded a bus to Mexico. While traveling through the state of Chiapas, Mexico, Marta was kidnapped and raped. She escaped with a group of migrants and began living in a shelter in Chiapas, but soon discovered that she was pregnant. With a small child and one on the way, she made her way to Mexico City where she contacted the Institute for Women in Migration (el Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, AC / IMUMI).

IMUMI managed to obtain humanitarian visas for Marta and her son, register the birth of her baby and referred her for ongoing emotional support.

The Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) provides legal aid in cases such as Marta’s and works to promote and protect the human rights of migrant women and their families. In particular, IMUMI aims to provide protection to those fleeing violence and those that suffer abuses in transit. Many migrant women who have been victims of violent crimes need legal representation in order to request international protection in the U.S. or Mexico.

Help us raise funds to continue to be able to provide legal aid for women like Marta. 


Our financial objective is to raise $5,000 USD to pay for:


1.      30% of the salary of a specialist attorney in Mexican immigration law for one year; 

2.     Official translations and certification of documents ($1,000);

3.      Printing informative material for women in migration and their families ($700)


Even if we do not reach our goal, the money collected will pay for the necessary paperwork for migrant women and their families, such as passports, transportation, official translations, document certification etc.

Background Information 


Thousands of women in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (known as the ‘Northern Triangle of Central America’ or ‘NTCA’) are facing epidemic levels of violence. Gang violence and organized crime is not only widespread, but has intensified, with a devastating impact, especially for women, adolescents, and children. Feminicide rates are the highest in the world, as well as homicides of people under 20 years old.[1] This is the result of both the forced recruitment of children into criminal groups, and the high levels of gender-based and domestic violence.

Governmental failure to guarantee their population’s security, as well as the escalation of violence in these countries, have lead to families leaving their homes in great numbers in search of international protection. 

Since 2014 the number of women migrating with their children has increased. In the past, it was more common for children to be left under the care of other women or family members. Now many mothers travel with their children, as it is the only viable measure that might help protect their children against violence and crime and offer them a brighter future.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report, Women on the Run, (2015), more than half of the migrant children from the NTCA qualify as refugees and more than 80% of NTCA women interviewed by US asylum officers in 2015 were eligible to apply for asylum, as they demonstrated a credible fear of persecution.

In Mexico, the number of asylum seekers and the recognition rate increased significantly between 2013-2016. However, there is still a huge disparity between the number of people granted asylum and the number of NTCA migrants entering the country. In fact, it is estimated that less than 1% of people from the NTCA who enter the country request asylum. And only 0.5% of the NTCA migrants detained in Mexico achieved international protection in 2014 and 2015, and 2.16% in 2016. The rest were deported.[2]


1. U.S. and Mexican governments continue to favor the use of military protection of their borders leading to major human rights abuses.

2. In Mexico, the National Institution of Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM) continues to detain migrants in huge numbers in violation of Migration Law (Ley de Migración) and the General Law for the rights of Children and Adolescents in Mexico (Ley General de Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes). 

3. Mexican detention centers or migration stations are very closed off, making it very hard for NGO´s and providers of legal aid to contact migrants and inform them of their rights – the detention centers do not provide the detainees with adequate information on their migration status and their right to seek asylum.

4. As the UNHCR report Women on the Run (2015) demonstrates, Women often take different routes than men in their migration North, meaning they are further from the protection provided by churches or migrant shelters. Sexual favors as payments have become commonplace as part of this journey, and there is a significant threat of gender-based violence.

5. Migrant mothers need to be informed that they can enroll their children in Mexican schools, not only for the child’s educational benefits but also so that mothers of young children can go to work.

How we face these challenges: 

IMUMI legally represents migrant women in Mexico and the United States. Our team of attorneys, who are specialists in Mexican immigration law, US immigration law and family law respectively, process humanitarian visas and carry out the necessary processes to guarantee the rights of migrant women and their families.

About our organization

IMUMI is a Mexican NGO that promotes the rights of migrant women and their families within the Mexican context: whether they are Mexican women moving to different areas in Mexico, women from other countries in transit through Mexico, or they live in Mexico, the United States or Central America. IMUMI uses an interdisciplinary approach to address issues for migrant women, for example through political advocacy, legal strategy, research, communication and public policy reform. 

The IMUMI Legal Clinic represents over 200 women and their families each year in processes such as, obtaining humanitarian visas, achieving custody rights and accessing identity documents. 

IMUMI adopts an individual approach to each case. We aim to provide migrant women with the tools to help them develop their work, emotional and social lives, significantly improving the well-being and security of themselves and their families.


[1]ACNUR (2014) Children on the Run, Washington D.C.,


[2]El Financiero (2017), “El 0.5% de los migrantes obtuvieron refugio en México en 2015: INAI”, por Anabel Clemente, 11 de enero,






Mucho éxito equipo IMUMI de parte del equipo GENDES



Honoring Amy Belsher and Justin Orr’s launch on life together


Lainie Reisman

Gracias por todo lo que hacen!



Me da gusto apoyar a mujeres migrantes por sugerencia de Kian O’Hara


Gabriela Zapata

¡Felicidades por el gran trabajo y esfuerzo que hacen por las mujeres migrantes!


Jim McAuliffe

Su trabajo es extraordinario. Buena suerte.




Cecilia Portilla R




Elizabeth C Wade


Alison C Pepper


Marcela Orozco


Anita Khashu




Rosalba Rivera



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