The recent spate of rape and exploitation Escorts in Kashmir block has forced many women into the world of sex. The insurgency has displaced many women from their homes into the sex trade. Generally, these women remain hidden from society, often working in brothels and hotels. Sadly, the situation has gotten worse in recent years, as more women have begun seeking employment and moving away from home.
Prostitution in Kashmir was a lucrative business for some unscrupulous elements. Known as Dalles and Kanjar, these women arranged for the supply of girls from outside Kashmir. These women would often work in red-light areas, such as Quetta, Peshawar, Delhi, and elsewhere. The red-light industry flourished in Srinagar, where these women would be found as ‘Tashwans’ or ‘Gawakadals’.
The trade of prostitution in Kashmir has been around for centuries. The ancient Kalhana censured the kings who patronised prostitutes. In 1753, the Afghan period began in Kashmir and Amir Khan Jawan Sher institutionalised the trade. The Maharaja himself exported Kashmiri slaves to Kabul. These girls were forced into prostitution. While this practice may have been illegal, it remained a lucrative business that repaid its investors handsomely.