Invisible Movements: new IOM reports highlight migration trends of at-risk populations in the Caribbean

16 February 2023 - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched two new reports that examines the obstacle to safe and regular migration among marginalised populations with further recommendations for mitigating risks in the Caribbean. These “Invisible Movements in the Caribbean”i reports aim to raise awareness around migration issues that impact migrants with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), and those of indigenous origin.

The reports include further elaborations on case studies in the region, with proposals for improving access to critical migrant support services. Both studies were launched at virtual events with representatives from government bodies, civil society organizations and regional institutes.

“Migration is a complex process that poses challenges to all stakeholders,” said Regional Director for Central America and the Caribbean, Michele Klein-Solomon. The IOM official added that persons and groups in vulnerable situations often face unique obstacles associated with their own identities or origins, and how they are represented in legal systems.

“The series was designed to support governments, regional institutions, communities, civil society, and human rights groups,” explained Klein-Solomon, “in the process of rectifying the historic and colonial injustices that have come to prevent the free, safe, and regular migration of all peoples in the region.”

More typically known as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community, are faced with diverse needs and risks, some of which are like those of other groups of migrants, and some of which are specific to their experiences. Migrants with diverse SOGIESC often find themselves in situations of vulnerability, in part, due to migration policies and legislation that, although in many cases are no longer enforced, still include language or provisions that contravene the protection of these populations.

To that end, the report outlines systemic and policy-related recommendations that could improve the migration conditions of this group. These recommendations include increased participation of and outreach to the migrant LGBTQI+ community, individual documentation, protection from sexual and gender-based violence, addressing issues of safety and security, and increased access to justice, material assistance, shelter and sanitation, education, livelihoods, and healthcare.

Regarding the document Invisible Movements: Recommendations for Facilitating the Cross-Border Migration of Indigenous Peoples in the Caribbean, it focuses on the policies and legislation affecting the cross-border mobility and migration of indigenous peoples in the Caribbean. The study examined this grouping since indigenous populations experience face particular to obstacles to their safe migration as the impacts of colonization and modern nation-state building often conflict with their ancestral lands and customary cross-border movement.

The report analyses specific case studies in different countries to provide examples of good practices such as guarantee access to information in their native language and consideration of dual citizenship to cross-border indigenous communities. It also highlights the limitations and opportunities for improving migration conditions among indigenous populations.

These reports seek to provide actionable recommendations that governments, civil society and human rights organizations can use to minimize risks and guarantee the safety of migrants in all stages of their migration cycles.

The studies were conducted by IOM, under the Western Hemisphere Program (WHP), and funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Invisible Movements: Recommendations for Facilitating the Cross-Border Migration of Indigenous Peoples in the Caribbean

Invisible Movements: Recommendations for Facilitating the Cross-Border Migration for Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics in the Caribbean

For more information on these studies, IOM or its work, visit or You may also contact the Communications Unit in San Jose, Costa Rica at


IOM – UN Migration Agency 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is a United Nations organization working on migration issues.  IOM was established in 1951 and is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.  In 2016 IOM became part of the United Nations as the first agency specialized in all areas of migration.  

IOM works closely with governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental partners to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, promote international cooperation on migration issues, assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.