A youthful, migrant workforce takes root in an ageing Kerala


Cause and effect

Rajan said the migrants' home states would experience what Kerala had gone through when its men had moved abroad. Kerala has at least 10 lakh women whose husbands live abroad, a situation now being replicated in north Indian states. And one fallout of this, Rajan said, would be a rise in the sex trade in Kerala. The GIFT study and volunteers working among migrant workers, too, expect the commercial sex industry to flourish.

"Just as Kerala sex workers have gone to the Gulf to cater to men from their home state, women from the north Indian states too will enter the Kerala sex market," said an activist working among labourers. "At present, due to the language barrier, the migrants are reluctant to approach local sex workers."

Another fallout could be communal tension, the study says, pointing out that migrants from the same community are living in clusters. Also, there is the danger of local communal elements fomenting trouble by exploiting migrant labour communities' group-dwelling habits and anonymous nature.

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