The government sponsored prostitution digs recently celebrated their fifth anniversary
For years in Switzerland, sex workers conducted their business in the Zurich city’s riverfront area, but residents often complained about the noise, traffic jams and other disturbances.
So in 2012, 52% of Zurich voters approved a city plan to set aside $2 million of taxpayer’s money to build several drive-in structures in a safe and discreet environment, away from the residential neighbourhoods. Another $800,000 was earmarked for annual operation costs, which include security and on-site social services, reports USA Today.
To municipal authorities, this arrangement makes a lot of street sense. As the city noted on its website, the premises were intended to “improve the working conditions of sex workers – their health, physical and mental integrity.”
In fact, these government-sponsored digs, which look like one-car garages, celebrated their fifth anniversary on August 26. Last week, city officials announced that the project has been a resounding success, reports USA Today.
Five years later, these goals “have been achieved,” city spokesperson Nadeen Schuster said.
Regulated with Swiss-clock precision
Since opening in 2013, several improvements have been made. Originally, the boxes only accommodated customers in vehicles. A year later, the municipality added several wooden structures furnished with plank beds.
The site is regulated with a Swiss-clock precision: Maps show how to find the area and which way to drive by following arrows painted on the road. The premises are open for business from 7pm to 3am during the week and until 5am on weekends, reports USA Today.
Once inside, the cost is negotiated with one of the 24 women – mostly from Eastern Europe.
After setting the price, the client and sex worker drive to a free box. For privacy reasons, there are no security cameras, but each box is equipped with an alarm button that will summon guards in case of trouble. There have not been any serious incidents so far.
Prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s and is considered like any other service industry. The Swiss have taken this approach to prevent exploitation, sexually transmitted diseases, links with criminal networks and other problems common in countries where sex commerce is banned.