DTM: information for the protection of Venezuelan migrants


The new migration Flow of Venezuelans is one of the most dynamic in the Americas. In 2018, IOM estimates that there are around 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad and that about 90% of them are in countries of South America. More than 1.6 million of these people abandoned Venezuela since 2015.

These figures demonstrate the need of collecting, exchanging and validating statistical information about the needs and characteristics of the population, with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities and improve their protection.

IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) was designed precisely to record and monitor the movements of migrant and refugee population. This information is used for decision making and for the development of actions, plans and public policies based on transparent, safe and reliable information.

How DTM works?

This study provides primary information about the mobility at the national or global level and it is composed of four components:

  • Mobility tracking: tracks the cross-sector needs and the movements of the population to focalize help and humanitarian assistance in the communities of origin and displacement zones.
  • Monitoring of Fluxes: registers movements of displaced people in certain points, when migration occurs gradually.
  • Records individual and household information for the selection of beneficiaries, which prioritizes vulnerability indicators.
  • Survey:  gathers specific information through population sampling about issues such as intent to return, displacement solutions, and commmunity perceptions, among others. 

Supporting the Venezuelan population. In response to massive migration of Venezuelans, IOM launched this year the Regional Action Plan (RAP) that provides technical support and humanitarian assistance to countries receiving this population in the Americas and the Caribbean. As a result, DTM is implemented in 16 countries of the region, including Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

Nowadays, the information generated is being used to identify priority recipients of assistance and support, guaranteeing access to basic services in context of high demand. In addition, the system send alarms about needs of protection, food shortages, sanitary problems and diseases to coordinate with relevant authorities.

Likewise, the matrix is promoting prevention of human trafficking and other risks related to irregular migration by detecting vulnerable cases with the purpose of facilitating precise and relevant information that protects the Venezuelan population.

In this manner, States and stakeholders can know and jointly address the regional challenges for the attention and integration of Venezuelan migrants and the development of sustainable solutions.

Every report generated by DTM will be public and other specialized reports will be shared with governmental, academic and civil society actors in charge of providing services to migrants to enrich their intervention in favor of Venezuelan migrants.

This activity was funded by the The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, by the U.S Department of State.


Bryan Brennan es consultor de Comunicaciones para el Plan de Acción Regional (RAP) de OIM. 

In a distant country, Erick daydreams - #MigrantsDay

In a distant country, Erick daydreams - #MigrantsDay
Categoria: Return and Reintegration
Autor: Laura Manzi

Story based on the testimony of Erick Galeas, a returnee.

The outbound journey

The heat was suffocating, as if the breaths of fresh air had forgotten that point in the world, where an immense dryness permeated every corner. The ground burned, the sun gave no truce. And this was no small matter: Erick hated the heat, which only made him feel tired and weak.

On those long days with his skin so exposed to the sun, he would try to find some place in the shade to relax for a little while, alone with his thoughts. It may seem absurd, but at that moment, instead of worrying and being overcome by fear and agitation due to the long-awaited trip, the only thing he could think of was that sweater that he intended to buy once arrived in the United States. He wanted to live in a cold place, this was clear to him, to buy a lot of coats and scarves, and to have frozen hands. Wasn't that part of the American dream too? To be able to escape that dryness and have a closet full of sweaters?

The city of Tijuana, in Mexico, served as the setting for Erick's mental wanderings. It had been also his temporary residence for almost a month. Residence, not home. Erick had been living far away from home for nine months, since he left Honduras and began his journey: one day in Guatemala, one month in Chiapas, six months in Veracruz, then Ciudad Juárez and now there, Tijuana. Nine long months treasuring the desire to be able to find better economic opportunities and support his family that he left behind, which was enthusiastic about the idea of being able to receive some remittances.

To fight for his wish, Erick had to pay for his trip by working, doing whatever job he could find, often up to sixteen hours a day for a paltry salary. But that was not a time to be discouraged, because the next day Erick was going to cross the Mexican border into the United States, after having paid 7 thousand dollars  to a smuggler who promised to finally take him to his destination. This is how Erick's last trip to the north began: early in the morning, on any given Tuesday.

You may have noticed that Erick's imagination led him to daydreaming very often, and at the beginning of his journey, after months of malnutrition, he was wondering what his first meal in the US would have tasted like. Surely it would have been the most delicious meal of the last nine months, a meal that tastes of success ... And then wham!, his reverie was suddenly interrupted. An immigration police officer instantly nullified all of Erick's efforts, who was arrested shortly after. But that was not the end of his journey; little did he know that he still had six months to spend in detention: first in California, then in Arizona, Ohio, Louisiana, and Michigan. In his fantasy there were no police officers or detainees; however, this was the only image that Erick could capture from the United States.

How angry he felt when the comments of people who said "it is easy to get to the United States" and "it is a matter of one, maximum two weeks" came to mind. The lack of truthful and adequate information had been an accomplice to his misadventure. Erick was tired, disappointed, and alone. He was also afraid, because in the detention centers there were not only migrants seeking a better life, but also some common criminals who intimidated others, exacerbating their feelings of discomfort. For Erick, the only chance for peace was those few minutes of calls that he could share with his family. He told them that he was afraid that the US authorities would deport him to Honduras, and on the 175th day of his arrest, that was precisely what happened.

The return journey 

A bittersweet taste marked Erick's return. Not being able to fulfill his long-awaited American dream made him feel frustrated, almost ashamed and humiliated. His overwhelming sense of failure disappeared for a moment when, after almost a year and a half, he could finally hug his son. "Children grow up so fast," Erick thought. But the little boy was not the only one who had grown up in all that time; Erick had also gone through an enormous process of personal growth, and he had acquired an incredible strength.

Oh, and there was also the Honduran food. That really made his return happy!

It was not easy, it was not quick, but after a long path, on a day like today we can imagine Erick dealing with his daily tasks at his handicraft company in Honduras. His small family-run atelier became a company that sells its products nationwide: souvenir-type crafts that include a large sample of boats, helicopters and airplanes, all made of wood. It is a business that allows him and his family to live with better economic conditions than when Erick decided to venture to the United States.

His work activity was also able to flourish thanks to the help of the IOM (International Organization for Migration), which provided him with the necessary machinery for his work, and also to the CASM (Mennonite Social Action Commission), whose course on entrepreneurship strengthened Erick's management skills. The feeling of frustration that he experienced when he returned to Honduras has been transformed step by step into a feeling of satisfaction and happiness a he saw his business growing and gained greater confidence in himself, in his talent and ability. The training courses and the support provided helped him through a difficult process of return and reintegration, and empowered the young migrant on his return home.

Erick was able to build his economic subsistence and his professional fulfillment in Honduras, and among so many complex and unfortunate stories, this is a story with a happy ending. Even so, from time to time, he cannot help but daydream, thinking about what it would be like to travel to the United States again, this time legally, and stay there, even just for one day: to eat at a different restaurant and buy a thick winter sweater.