As Zurich opens Switzerland’s first sex drive-in to better regulate prostitution and move the sex trade outside the city centre, residents, politicians and sex workers remain divided over the scheme.
Nine so-called sex boxes will be available to prostitutes and their clients from Monday in a former industrial zone in the west of the city. Inspired by a similar initiative in Germany, the authorities want to alter the image of the city’s Sihlquai district, where sex workers openly ply their trade, to the dismay of residents.
“Prostitution is a business basically. We cannot prohibit it, so we want to control it in favour of the sex workers and the population,” said Michael Herzig, the director of social services for sex workers in the city.
“Because if we do not control it, organised crime is taking over, and the pimps are taking over.”
There are clearly defined rules, and alarm buttons in all boxes, which are wooden frames like car ports where clients can park and complete the transaction.
In the tabloid 20minuten on Friday, several prostitutes expressed reservations, saying the tightly controlled environment might intimidate their customers.
The idea has a broad consensus among political parties, with only the populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) opposing the project. “It will not work, either because the clients will not come or because the site will not be used by prostitutes,” said Sven Oliver Dogwiler of the SVP. – Sapa-AFP