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It seems that the majority of Estonians consider prostitution inevitable.
Tourists in Tallinn may be solicited by the sex business on signs and accessible literature printed in multiple languages.
It’s been months since I visited Estonia, but I’m still haunted by the sex trade that exists there.
Estonia is not unique in this regard but it was unexpected because it seems disproportionate to its population.
She revealed that prostitution is increasingly controversial within Estonia, and indicated that “like most Estonians” she would not want her children playing with the children of a prostitute; nor would she want to work or associate with a former prostitute – “especially if they were Russian.” When asked if it would make a difference to her whether a prostitute had been recruited as a child, had been unable to support herself any other way, or had been desperate for money to feed her children, she replied it would not.
I had the sense her views reflect those of many Estonians who are not involved in the sex industry.
When I visited Estonia during summer 2014, approximately 1.3 million people lived there – similar to the population of San Diego, California.
My guide was an attractive, twenty-something Estonian woman who had been college educated.My observations are admittedly superficial and I am no one of significance when it comes to politics or international relations, but my impression is that the growing sex trade in Estonia is dangerous to it — and is creating challenges for Estonia that could undermine its culture and social integrity long-term.I care because I care about Estonia and its people.Whether women and children have the opportunity to make informed decisions before entering the sex trade in Estonia; whether sex trafficking or other forms of coercion is occurring; whether the legal and social consequences to men, women and children involved in the sex trade is fair, equal, and just; whether the sex industry in Estonia is being driven domestically or from abroad; and, whether adequate consequences exist for foreign and domestic customers who flame the fires of Estonia’s spreading sex trade is the subject of debate.I would argue only that the stakes are high for Estonians to get it right.
However, whether she and other Estonians associate those challenges with prostitution is unclear. Perhaps most revealing to me was my guide’s assertion that prostitution is a “victimless” crime in Estonia.