Wadia is notorious as a place where men get rich from the sexual exploitation of women.
Wadia, a village in north Gujarat, close to the Rajasthan border, is famous for prostitution. Aside from a few exceptions, most of the boys are raised to be pimps, and the majority of girls, some as young as 12 years old, earn a living selling sex.
Men come to the village from as far afield as Ahmedabad, Pakistan, Rajasthan, and Mumbai to buy sex, with rates beginning at 500 rupees (£5).
The 600 inhabitants of Wadia are descendants of the nomadic Saraniya community. Saraniya men once worked for the army, which ruled over the region prior to India’s independence from Britain in 1947.
Ever since, realising how much money could be made from the sex trade, the majority of men in Wadia have continued soliciting buyers for their sisters, daughters, aunts, and even mothers.
I head out to Wadia from Gujarat’s main city, Ahmedabad, accompanied by a driver and translator, during Diwali. After almost four hours on the road we reach a hilly terrain and are directed onto a narrow road. Off this are several hamlets consisting of a few huts made from wood and plastic sheets.
I was told that it is unsafe for anyone to travel alone near Wadia. As my driver asks passersby for directions to the village he is warned by several that it is “bandit country”.
“It is very dangerous in Wadia,” says one elderly man walking his small herd of goats. “You will be robbed and maybe even worse.”