Legal ‘sex booths’ where customers take their cars and ‘drive-in’ to meet prostitutes have been deemed a ‘resounding success’ by city officials in Zurich, Switzerland.
The booths, which look like garages, celebrate their fifth anniversary on Sunday after 52 per cent of Zurich citizens voted in favor of the local government spending $2 million Swiss franc (CAD $2,650,000) on ‘sex boxes’ in 2012.
Prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s and the booths opened in 2013. Before this, most sex workers stayed on the city’s riverfront, but many moved following complaints from locals over traffic and noise.
The legal areas help in preventing human trafficking and violent attacks against sex workers, most of whom are eastern European.
The government spends $800,000 (CAD $1,061,000) each year maintaining the booths, which includes security and on-site social services.
The sex workers pay taxes, have regular health checks and are healthier overall, officials say.
In 2014, more improvements were made to the booths, including ‘plank beds’ for people who wanted to leave their cars.
Like many drive-ins, motorbikes and bicylces are allowed, but those on foot aren’t. Pedestrians are told to go to another part of the city.
Once the customers arrive, one of the 24 women working agree a price and go to the booth, which is not monitored but has an emergency alarm for safety.