San Salvador, El Salvador - October 5

Cathleen Caron visited San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, to learn about migration issues specific to this country and identify organizations to invite to the New Defender Training scheduled for February 2013.  El Salvador is a small and highly organized country, providing fewer challenges to set up the Defender Network. Over the course of one week, Cathleen held more than 10 meetings with 16 persons from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and government representatives from El Salvador and the U.S.  

The organizations ranged widely in their focus, from women’s rights, labor rights (specifically verifying factory conditions), immigrant rights, to social services. Some organizations had already identified issues of transnational nature, such as women who return to El Salvador after suffering domestic violence, child support petitions for husbands who stopped sending financial support, and accusations of abuse by U.S. government officials during the deportation process, the latter causing an HIVpregnant mother to lose her baby. Since none of these organizations work specifically on the challenges their nationals face related to their work abroad, these cases only represent the tip of the iceberg.  
The El Salvadoran government was very concerned about the program to Canada but was ignorant to the U.S. temporary worker visa programs' existence. There was an immediate call for training on the Canada program, which they are currently negotiating, and interest in a Global Workers sponsored regional meeting with government officials at a later date. There was a sharp awareness that they, the government, have little to no access to information about how these programs work so they are “blind” when it come to figuring out how to protect their migrants.

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