TALLINN - The Estonian Social Democratic Party has demanded that the government take resolute steps to fight prostitution, as it constitutes gross violence against women. Members suggested punishing pimps and buyers by criminalizing the purchasing of sex.
During a board meeting on Sunday, the Social Democrats agreed that the government's current situation was unacceptable. They decried the government's tendency to keep silent about the situation, especially considering how many women have been enslaved as a result of trafficking. Other women, they emphasized, are at the mercy of pimps and buyers, a spokeswoman for the party reported.
The party found that, every day, women's rights are grossly abused in this sphere.
Member of the European Parliament Marianne Mikko said that punishments would have to fall on the pimps and buyers, not women who are the object of the deal and are more vulnerable 's even as prostitutes.
"It is time to give society a clear signal that a woman's body is not for sale, and the purchase of a woman's body with the aim of sexual exploitation is punishable," said Mikko, who, speaking in the European Parliament last week, had appealed to criminalize the purchase of sex through the European Union.
She added that the government should stop ignoring the problem, as its failing to meet an obligation to the people. She compared Estonia to Sweden, which criminalized the purchase of sex in 1999. Finland is about to follow Sweden's footsteps.
"The government must urgently tackle this problem of great seriousness," Mikko said. "Concrete steps have to be taken for the criminalization of sex and creating of an effective rehabilitation system for its women victims."
The issue has been a debated topic for Estonia since the New Year. In January, Justice Minister Rein Lang said the ministry would not draft legislation in favor of criminalizing the solicitation of sex services.
"The issue should be seen in a wider context," he said. "Estonia and Finland should cooperate as members, being able to pre-plan legal acts of cross-border effects and consult with neighbors about them."