Irregular migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) is not new to the region. Official sources show that more than 146,000 migrants returned to Central America’s Northern Triangle between January and September 2018.

Migrant caravans are not unusual either: small groups have already been organized with the support of various social organizations such as the “Movimiento Migrante Centroamericano” (https://goo.gl/eu3P1N). However, this is the first time that a constant migratory flow has been seen in groups of this magnitude (more than 100 people per group).

According to different sources(https://goo.gl/xwCayo), at least 6 caravans of migrants from the Northern Triangle of Central America have been observed since October 12, 2018. The first two originated in Honduras with approximately 4,000 and 3,000 members respectively. Subsequently, groups of approximately 350, 150, 1,700, 1,700 and 200 people who departed from El Salvador have been monitored.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) implemented rapid surveys and some in-depth interviews with the objective of characterizing this population and their needs in order to facilitate the humanitarian support of all actors at the transit, reception and reintegration levels(https://goo.gl/LDTe2f).

Reported reasons for migration

During the surveys and interviews, the majority of migrants indicated that their motivations for migrating were: lack of work and opportunities, economic needs, and violence/insecurity.

Source: IOM (2018). DTM El Salvador: Survey on the characterization of migrants in transit and humanitarian needs. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/EmZX4R

“I have been looking for a job for 6 months” Male, 18 years old

“To have better opportunities” Male, 18 years old.

“For my children” Female, 33 years old

“I have family in great need” Female, 44 years old.

o work to build your house” Male, 30 years old

“To apply for asylum and refugee work” Woman., 37 years old

“For the extor
ión and because I have to support my father, I don’t have children; otherwise I would have stayed” Male, 40 years old

“Ourneed is to give a better future. I want a shelter to bring my kids and my mom.” Female, 37 years old

When asked if they “would have considered migrating anyway?” in the in-depth interviews, most people stated that they had already considered migrating and the “caravan” was the ideal means.

When asked what they would need in order not to migrate and stay in their country, people responded: “to have a job”, “more security”, “a better life”, “more opportunities”, “work and security”. Highlighting the need for job opportunities, security and better income.

Migrants found out about the caravan through social networks (mainly Facebook and WhatsApp groups), bringing together more than 200 migrants, including lactating women, as well as children under 5 years of age.

Migrants moved from San Salvador to Tecún Umán by various means of transportation: buses, hiking and “rides” in trucks, pick-up trucks, etc. (those who did not have the money to pay for buses).

Despite the existence of a group guiding the migrant population, the people who make up the caravan do not clearly identify who represents the leadership.

Why are you traveling with the caravan?

“God willing, let’s see how far we can go with the hope of improvement.” Male, 44 years old

“Something different to do.” Male, 38 years old

“Because there is no work and there is a lot of crime.”
Male, 32 years old

“To have a better future.”
Female, 33 years old

“Because we help each other, some of us don’t bring money and we get paid.”
Male, 18 years old

“For everyone’s support and for not traveling alone.”
Male, 23 years old

“For self-improvement and to save the coyote payment.”
Male, 30 years old



– “It was overnight.”

-From one moment to the next. They gave me a heads up and I got things ready.”

-I just grabbed what I could. I heard he was coming out and I got to the place.”

On a planned basis

– “I had already planned it for days.”

– “They gave us maps and guidebooks with phone numbers.”



-It has been hard to walk. It was 100 kilometers walking from Escuintla to here (Tecún Umán)”.

– “Tired and dangerous.”

– “We’re getting sick.”


-It was good, we mobilized by truck and bus”.

– “A little rough, but all well, thank God.”

Expectations of asylum

During the interviews conducted, two migrants indicated seeking asylum through the caravan. Both people joined the trip individually for reasons related to violence or insecurity, and hope to apply for asylum in Mexico, the United States or Canada.