In an attempt to reduce open street prostitution and to improve security for sex workers, Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, is opening “sex drive-ins” Monday.
The nine garage-style structures, located in Sihlquai, a former industrial zone in the city, are equipped with alarm buttons and guarded by security personnel to ensure the safety of the prostitutes. Customers are not allowed to leave the area with the sex workers.
“Prostitution has escalated in the city,” said Michael Herzig, from the Zurich social services department. “It was done out in the open on the street and men harassed passers-by.
“It was noisy and dirty because men took the prostitutes to a side street and left used condoms on the streets. The drive-ins are more discreet and safer.”Herzig leads the project, which has cost 2.4 million Swiss francs ($2.6 million) to set up.
“The project is extremely controversial. Prostitution is about morals and religion. But we leave these things aside and see it as a business. The humanitarian aspect is more important for us,” said Herzig. Around 30 to 40 women are expected to work at the site each night. Sex workers have to pay 5 Swiss francs per night to make use of the so-called “sex boxes,” but customers don’t have to pay an entrance fee.
The drive-ins are open daily from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and can only be accessed by car. Drivers have to follow a clearly marked route to get to the area, where customers and sex workers can discuss the services offered and agree on a price. The client can then drive into the allocated box, where the service is provided.