Mexico: Treating migrants who've faced extreme violence or torture

At the Comprehensive Care Center (CAI) in Mexico City, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides specialized care to migrants who have suffered extreme violence or torture. Most patients have survived multiple violent events, often spurred by their appearance, origin, sexual orientation, or gender. In addition to providing primary medical care, mental health care, social services, and physical rehabilitation, MSF also connects patients with occupational or educational opportunities so they can begin to move forward with their lives.

Patients at the CAI come from different parts of the world but many have fled their homes in Central America to escape extreme violence and brutality. “There is a bullet on this side of my stomach and another bullet here [in my bicep],” said Lisandro, a patient at the CAI who fled to Mexico from Honduras where armed men were trying to kill him. "The doctors diagnosed me with anxiety and prescribed other pills to keep me stable.”

The criminalization of migration has made the search for safety even more dangerous in Central and North America. Migrants must use less-traveled routes where they can be subjected to violence, torture, and rape. Migration policies in the US and Mexico can leave asylum seekers in limbo or send them back to the violent situations they were trying to escape.

Since 2018, the CAI has provided much-needed comprehensive care to 276 people and their families. "My dream is to save my life as much as possible because I do not know how far my enemies will go in Honduras,” Lisandro said. "I do not know when it will end. I am looking for work. I'm relaxing and want to spend years here in Mexico.”