Three Months as a Softcore Sex Worker in Latviaโ€™s Capital

โ€œI saw women broken by it. I saw girls crying at the end of the night. The only reason I could deal with it is because I had no sense of self worth.โ€

Past the grand churches and 14th century mansions, the bewildering side-streets of Old Riga are lined with failed bars and shuttered clubs. Every week, bars are bought, sold, and shut down by the police, only to reappear soon after with a new name and logo. This harsh environment, coupled with Rigaโ€™s legacy as a sex capital of Europe, leads establishment owners to employ young Latvian women with the job of bringing foreign men in off the street and giving them an expensive fantasy for the night.…   [continue reading]

Life in Latvia, Junk Shop at the End of the World

A middle aged couple come back from the supermarket. His gutโ€™s hanging over his tracksuit bottoms, necking a can of strong beer.

A pigeon flies over the trees that cover up rows on rows of 10 story tower blocks, Soviet era. Clapped-out 1970s Russian sedan parked on the pavement.

Stubbing a cigarette, the door downstairs chimes as an old Russian lady fumbles inside, shopping bags bulging.

Earlier this morning, a postman came by with a bag full of promotional leaflets marked U.S. Mail. People still carry around those old plastic bags branded with American cigarette company logos, and my wife tells me these were hot stuff back when the Russians hated the Americans and her step-dad was locked up for wearing Nike trainers as capitalist contraband.…   [continue reading]