Shackled Lives: Unraveling Prostitution and Trafficking of Women in Kashmir

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Shabir Ahmad Dar, Dr. J. Muthukumar


Women have been subjected to silence, deprivation, and marginalization, despite their increasing importance in society. The practice of prostitution in ancient Kashmir was courtesans and prostitutes were recognized and valued for their skills and entertainment services. Subsequently the practice of prostitution changed under various ruling dynasties, such as the Mughals, Afghans, and Sikhs and the impact on women's lives during those periods. The Dogra rule institutionalized prostitution in Kashmir, making it an officially recognized and taxed activity. Women were subjected to exploitation, and their rights were disregarded as they were bought and sold like commodities. The harsh taxation system imposed on women involved in prostitution, leading them to further poverty and vulnerability. Ultimately, the Abolition of Prostitution Act of 1934 was passed in the State Assembly to suppress immoral trafficking and provide penalties for those involved. This paper presents an in-depth exploration of the historical and sociological perspective of prostitution in Kashmir, offering insights into the lives of marginalized women, the societal acceptance of the practice, and the efforts to combat exploitation. Through this historical analysis, an attempt has been made to understand the roots of social issues to pave the way for a more equitable and just society for women.


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