Data Tracking Matrix

Using Data Tracking Matrix (DTM) to identify gender specific vulnerabilities and needs of migrants

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December 2020

By IOM Haiti

The Republic of Haiti has been experiencing a deep socio-economic and political crisis, which has particularly worsened since July 2018, when violent unforeseen protests arose, demanding the resignation of the President, Mr Jovenel Moïse, for alleged corruption and bad governance. 

Coupled with the increased insecurity – violent protests leading to country lockdowns, frequent kidnappings, arbitrary and summary killings, rise in gang violence etc. – the extremely unstable economic situation is particularly affecting vulnerable populations such as migrants.

Transborder movements being very frequent between Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic (between October 5 and 18 alone, IOM Haiti registered 84,330 cross border movements, of which 36.2% are women and 3.4% girls), migrants represent an important population, which requires particular assistance. Additionally, it is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million Haitian migrants around the world (MPI 2017), and deportation is frequent phenomenon.

The COVID-19 outbreak has seen a rise in Haitian voluntary returns, who face additional challenges. Indeed, while prior to COVID-19, returnees were usually deported or arbitrary ousted, since March 2020, 42.45% of observed cross border movements are voluntary, due partly to the acceleration of the propagation of the virus in Dominican Republic and the strict measures adopted by the Dominican government to control the spread, as well as the interruption and/or disruption of services provided by industries were Haitian migrants are mainly employed in. Spontaneous unplanned and unassisted voluntary returns may lead to unforeseen vulnerabilities, given the already economically and socially fragile communities the migrants return to, leading to deepening certain issues, such as human trafficking and gender-based violence, especially for women.

This has led IOM Haiti to adapt its ongoing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) initiative along the Haiti–Dominican Republic border to support the ongoing response to the pandemic. The Flow Monitoring initiative is being carried out in 50 Border Crossing Points between Haiti and the Dominican Republic: 46 unofficial points and 4 official points in collaboration with local civil society organizations.

Flow monitoring to assess gender specific vulnerabilities

The DTM is a set of tools developed by IOM to collect and analyze data on the mobility, vulnerabilities, as well as to monitor the movement and living conditions of displaced populations. This innovative tool collects baseline data, enabling timely identification of vulnerable populations and their needs, thus strengthening coordinated efforts of all humanitarian actors.

To further complement the displacement information captured by the Flow Monitoring initiative, IOM Haiti has partnered with the international Non-profit Organization Flowminder, to further understand the mobility within the country following COVID-19. Flowminder uses and analyses anonymized and aggregated data from one of the Mobile Network Operators in Haiti—Digicel—to comprehend mobility patterns of populations in order to support decision making in crises situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the collection of reliable statistical data about voluntary and forcibly returns of Haitians, the DTM tool provides a systematic screening and referral of vulnerable returnees and deportations coming from the Dominican Republic. The Flow Monitoring Initiative allows the collection and analysis of accurate data information, including age, sex, type of vulnerability, and documentation status. This useful tool relates to the commitments undertaken by diverse Member States through the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regularly Migration, particularly regarding the need of collecting and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies.   

The information gathered through this data collection and analysis allows the identification of gender specific vulnerabilities which are then referred to governmental and non-governmental counterparts working at the border. For example, through the DTM, it has been observed that women migrants have been affected by displacement due to COVID-19 differently than men. The loss in revenues make women and girls more vulnerable to SGBV, human trafficking and more prone to risky adaptative solutions such as transactional sex or undocumented migration. Moreover, the stigma surrounding COVID-19 is an additional risk of community violence against migrants with women migrants having limited means to protect themselves. The stigma may lead women and men having symptoms of contagion to COVID-19 to hide and not to seek medical help, thereby increasing the risk of rapid propagation of the pandemic both sides of the border.

Addressing gender specific vulnerabilities of migrants in Haiti

Through its programs, IOM contributes actively in addressing the identified vulnerabilities of female migrants in Haiti in order to effectively promote their rights and enhance their empowerment. Given the high number of transborder movements, especially through non-official crossing points, it is crucial to keep track of migrants' vulnerabilities and the risks they are facing which could exacerbate those vulnerabilities

Through the DTM, IOM was able to identify approximately 100,000 weekly commuters who cross into the Dominican Republic. Among these circular migrants, a great majority of female workers are victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), exploitation and physical abuse. Considering that most activities in the informal economy at the border are undertaken by female entrepreneurs, they are extremely vulnerable to these specific types of abuse. Most of them cross the border irregularly several times a week to work in sectors such as housekeeping, small-scale vending and hair salons to support their families, who reside on the Haitian side of border towns.

To address this issue, IOM is currently implementing the project “Fostering peacebuilding and reducing SGBV for women and girls at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic". This project is composed of several axes: 1) strengthen coordination, both at the national and binational level through the organization of meetings between key actors working on the prevention of SGBV; 2) organization of awareness-raising campaigns aimed at reducing SGBV at the official border crossing point of Ouanaminthe; 3) training of key actors at the border on human rights and prevention of GBV and; 4) by supporting the development of Operational Standard Procedures aimed at improving the referral of SGBV cases at the border.

Through the data collected by the DTM, IOM is able to target specific needs, including for awareness raising campaigns, and therefore implement actions that effectively respond to women's vulnerabilities in relation to SGBV and other gender specific challenges.