On a warm evening last September, a black, seven-tonne jeep carrying several dozen workers in heavy cargo was driven along a highway in western Gujarat.
The vehicles were loaded onto an articulated trailer and then driven along the highway for around four hours.
The driver of the jeep was injured and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.
The truck driver and four other workers were injured in the accident.
This incident, along with several others, has put a spotlight on the plight of the migrant truckers and the exploitation of the industry in Gujarat.
The situation is different from the situation in other parts of India where the migrant workers are treated with dignity and respect.
The exploitation of migrant workers by unscrupulous brokers has been documented in many cases, such as the case of a trucker from Gujarat who was forced to sell his two-wheeler and hire a truck driver to sell the other vehicle.
This truck driver was the first to be killed in the industry.
However, the exploitation in Gujarat is different, said Virender Bhatia, who has been researching and writing about the migrant drivers for years.
He told Firstpost, “The migrant workers in Gujarat are not exploited.
They are not cheated of their wages.
They do not receive any form of remuneration from their employers.
The migrant workers have a right to be treated fairly and with dignity.”
He said that when he started writing about migrant workers, he found that many migrant workers did not have access to proper medical care and treatment.
He said that if a migrant worker is not adequately treated, he could be injured or killed by a human trafficker.
According to Bhati, migrant workers who are exploited in Gujarat do not get proper medical attention and proper medical facilities.
They may not get adequate compensation or they may not be given adequate accommodation or food.
Bhatis case illustrates how the migrant labour is treated in Gujarat as well.
The migrant worker’s condition in Gujarat varies depending on the region.
“The conditions are quite different for migrants from different states.
The workers from the north and west have better living conditions.
They have better facilities and are more educated.
The conditions are better for the workers from Gujarat, too,” said Bhatiya.
In Gujarat, migrant labourers are exploited through the use of exploitative brokers.
“It is a business model whereby the migrant worker gets a loan to buy a car from a broker to hire his driver,” said Shilpa Rao, a researcher at the Centre for Social Research, a think tank.
She said, “In the case where a migrant is hired by a broker, the broker makes money by selling the migrant driver.
The broker then gets the loan from the migrant and takes the migrant back to his own place.”
She said that migrant workers get to work for less money and earn less than their counterparts in other states.
Migrant workers who do not have adequate medical care are exploited by unscrodden brokers.
Many migrant workers do not know how to report abuse and exploitation.
They often don’t have proper medical insurance, she added.
The exploitation of migrants is also different in Gujarat, said Rao.
“There are more cases of exploitation of workers from other states, but we do not see migrant workers from states like Gujarat.
There are migrant workers there, but they do not complain,” she said.
Rao said that there are instances of migrants being forced to hire brokers to sell their vehicles.
The brokers are often the owners of the truck.
These brokers then charge the migrant labourer the commission for their truck.
She added that the migrant would often not be able to pay for their medical expenses or food even if they were given proper medical treatment.
Rajesh Srivastava, a journalist who writes about migrant labouarers for the daily Expressen, told First Post that the brokers charge migrant workers more than what they should be paid.
“In many cases the broker will not pay a reasonable commission for a truck.
So the migrant will have to pay more,” he said.
Migrants are exploited for many reasons.
Some brokers will offer them more money than they should pay.
Some of them will charge migrant labouters the commission, he added.
In some cases, migrants will be given inadequate compensation or food to eat.
According the research done by Srivaceva, many migrant labours do not even know how much money they should have to purchase a vehicle, especially in rural areas.
“This is why migrants get paid less than other workers.
Migrant workers have been abused because they are exploited, but many don’t know how they should receive the compensation,” he added, adding that migrant labouers are also being exploited through unscrupulous companies who are willing to pay up to a million dollars to sell a migrant driver a truck for a few lakh rupees.
The state government has promised to reform the trucking industry and increase the minimum wage for migrant labougers