To understand the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) experiences of migrant women and girls of reproductive age (15–49 years) from the Northern Triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) during their journey to the United States.
A descriptive, qualitative research design included 39 in-depth interviews with migrant women and unaccompanied migrant girls from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras from January to June 2022. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using thematic analysis.
Migrant women and girls lack the information and resources to manage their SRH during migration. The SRH of those traveling with smugglers is compromised due to their limited access to menstrual pads, water and sanitation services; the risks of transactional sex and sexual violence; the high risk of sexually transmitted infections; the inability to report sexual violence; the lack of access to SRH and prenatal services; and limited knowledge about their sexual and reproductive rights.
There is a significant need for improved interventions during the pre-departure phase of migration to inform migrant women and girls about the SRH risks they may encounter and to provide information and resources to support their SRH throughout their journey. Special attention should be directed towards trying to reach girls and women who will travel with smugglers.