What's the Latest Development?
This week the city of Zurich opened a US$2.7 million facility designed to solve two problems: the lively sex trade on certain city streets and the dangers encountered by the prostitutes who worked there. The compound, built on an industrial site in the suburbs, consists of "sex boxes" along a "strip" that clients can drive down. Upon choosing a particular prostitute, the client drives into the box, where the transaction takes place. Strict rules are prominently posted, along with safe-sex reminders. The facility also contains separate buildings with toilets, showers, and counselors.
What's the Big Idea?
The existence of the facility means that street solicitation is now banned on Zurich streets, which counselor Regula Rother believes was the primary reason why taxpayers agreed to pay for it. However, she's not sure the new regulations will work, or if prostitutes or clients will use the facility. The fact that the boxes were built with the prostitutes' safety in mind will hopefully convince some to use them, says social services official Michael Herzig: "[P]eople laugh about [the facility]...But we want to reduce violence and to improve living conditions for sex workers. For us, it's not funny."
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