We studied the levels of knowledge and awareness relating to STD/HIV/AIDS existing among the migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu; and their attitude, risk behavior and promiscuous sexual practice of migrant labourers. This study was mainly motivated from the data collected by us of 100 HIV/AIDS infected persons who belonged to the category that comes to be defined as migrant labourers. Almost all of them were natives of (remote) villages and had migrated to the city, typically, “in search of jobs”. We have noticed in our study as to how, starting from small villages with hopes and dreams these people had set out to the city, only to succumb to various temptations, and finally all their dreams turned into horrid nightmares. Our research included probing into areas like: patterns and history of migration work, vulnerabilities and risk exposure in an alien surrounding, ‘new’ sexual practices/ attitudes, access to health services, experiences and understanding of stigma and discrimination, effect of displacement, coping mechanism etc.
We also study the new economic policies of liberalization and globalization and how this has affected people to lose their traditional livelihood and sources of local employment, forcing them into migration. Our study has been conducted among this informal sector mainly because migrant labourers are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection, when compared to the local population for reasons which include poverty, powerlessness, inaccessibility to health services, unstable lifestyles such as insecurity in jobs, lack of skills, alienation from hometown, lack of community. Moreover, migrant labourers are also not organized into trade unions, as a result of which, they are made victims of horrendous exploitation: they are paid less than the minimum wages, they don’t receive legal protection, they are unaware of worker’s rights issues, and essentially lack stability.