Haitian Migration to Brazil: IOM StudyListen /
High level officials from Brazil and Haiti have been discussing the increased migration of Haitians to Brazil, following the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
The purpose of the five-day meeting in the Haitian capital Port au Prince is to identify mechanisms for bilateral cooperation between Brazil and Haiti to strengthen regular migration channels, to improve information flows and provide the greatest possible protection for migrants.
This includes identifying ways to combat trafficking and smuggling of migrants, creating systems to inform those interested in migrating, and improving cooperation and coordination between the authorities of the two countries to manage these flows.
IOM- the International Organisation for Migration presented preliminary results of its study on Haitian migration to Brazil, funded by IOM's Development Fund.
The research looked at the main transit countries and reported that Peru has become important transit point for migrants. They travel through the Peruvian regions of Tumbes, Lima and Madre de Dios to reach the northern State of Acre, Brazil.
The Brazilian government has established a shelter in Acre to provide basic emergency services to migrants and to expedite their registration and issuance of documents.
The latest figures indicate that the government has issued a total of 10,165 humanitarian visas to migrants who have reached the territory, including figures from different consular offices in the region.
IOM Regional Project Development Officer for South America, Jorge Peraza said
"Migration from Haiti is not a new phenomenon. We are simply seeing new destinations such as Brazil, but also Argentina and Chile, amongst others. Some migrants have decided to settle, even temporarily, in transit countries such as Ecuador".
The study also confirms the existence of established smuggling networks that meet the migrants arriving in Quito, Ecuador on flights from Panama. They arrange for basic food and shelter, false travel documents and continued transportation.
Migrants have reported paying as much as US$2,500 to the smugglers, which confirms that it is not the poorest of Haitians who are using this route.
Peraza said "The IOM study calls for urgent action to establish mechanisms to protect those migrants who are being deceived, extorted and physically abused. It is important to note that "we are seeing more women and children who are particularly vulnerable to these types of abuse," he added.
Brazil has created mechanisms for migrants to obtain visas in their country of origin or in some transit countries such as Ecuador, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.