Sex Workers in Switzerland

New ideas such as drive in privacy booths

21st November

Update: Voting Booths...

Zurich will now vote on installing drive-in booths for the privacy of sex workers and their customers

The Swiss People's Party (SVP) has gathered enough signatures to call a cantonal referendum in Zurich on the planned development of a new red-light district in Alstetten, on the outskirts of the city.

By gathering more than the 2,000 signatures needed to call a vote, the SVP hopes to block what it sees as an immoral use of public funds.

Plans to open the new district and end prostitution in the Sihlquai district, behind the main railway station, were scheduled for the spring of 2012. Police and social services had opposed the idea of a referendum, arguing that it would delay the move out of Sihlquai.

So-called performance stalls , are set to be kitted out with parking spaces and alarm buttons.

The head of Zurich's social affairs department, socialist councillor Martin Waser said he is convinced that citizens will vote clearly in favour of the project because the problems in Sihlquai are well known . The situation cannot continue, neither for the sake of the prostitutes nor those living in the area.

2.4 million franc ($2.8m) was raised to finance the scheme via a loan. Most parties voted in favour of the loan, but the project met with resistance from the Swiss People's Party (SVP), the Evangelical People's Party (EVP) and the Swiss Democrats (SD).

The city council must now decide when the referendum will take place. The earliest possible date will be March 11th 2012.


12th March

Updated: Garage Sale...

Zurich residents vote on whether private garages should be installed for sex workers and their customers

Residents of the Swiss city of Zurich will vote Sunday on whether to build dedicated garages where prostitutes can ply their trade, in a proposal aimed at moving streetwalkers away from residential zones.

Proponents for the Zurich referendum want a parking zone built for prostitutes by 2013 at the entrance to the city.

The site would be open from 7pm to 5am, and would have an alley where prostitutes and clients can cruise along and garages where they can carry out their transaction.

The site will be shielded from sight by signs, be fitted with showers and toilets and will feature a gynaecologist for any medical problems and volunteers from the Flora Dora women's group for any advice.

The proposed site aims to eliminate area's like Zurich's Sihlquai area, where about 60 streetwalkers work every night.

There is a lot of competition along Sihlquai, where many women go with their clients to the backyards of buildings, creating a difficult situation for residents who have to put up with the noise and disorder, said Ursula Kocher, who heads Flora Dora.

Kocher said that the proposal had the support of the prostitutes themselves, as it could offer better security.

As the parking site would be under the authority of the municipality, officials can get rid of overly aggressive clients, said Kocher.

Update: Voted Yes

12th March 2012. See  article from

A proposal to construct what have locally been referred to as sex boxes for prostitutes got the green light from referendum voters in Zurich.

The plan would see the creation of special parking spaces with walls between them where sex workers can ply their trade away from suburban areas in Switzerland's biggest city.



Update: Meter Maids...

Zurich agrees to build drive-in boxes for sex workers

Link Here12th December 2012
Full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths

Zurich council has approved a plan to build open drive-in sex boxes, which will, it hopes, provide a discreet location for prostitutes and their customers to conduct business when they open in August next year.

Located in an industrial area of the city, the row of garage-like boxes will have roofs and walls for privacy, and easy access for cars. The council estimates that around 30 prostitutes will meet clients at the site of the boxes, and use the drive-in slots on a first-come-first-served basis.

Michael Herzig, from Zurich's social welfare department, told Swiss Radio:

The big difference is that until now prostitution has been in the public space. Now we are going to change this, move it from the street to a private space in an old industrial area, which belongs to the city. This gives us the possibility to define the rules of prostitution in this area.

The prostitutes who use the boxes will also have to take out medical insurance and buy a 26 licence in order to work legally. They will also have to feed five Swiss francs, about 3.30, into a roadside ticket machine each night when they clock on.

The opening of the sex boxes will coincide with a major reform of prostitution laws in the city. Prostitution will be outlawed in certain areas of Zurich.



Update: Like Clockwork...

Swiss change age for sex work and participating in porn from 16 to 18

Link Here11th September 2013
Full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths
The Swiss parliament has voted to raise the legal prostitution age from 16 to 18 bringing Swiss law into line with European neighbours.

The lower house of parliament voted to change the Swiss penal code to make it illegal to pay for sex with a minor, following suit after the upper house adopted the bill.

With the law change, sex workers between the ages of 16 and 18 will not face penalties, but clients who pay for sex with minors will face up to three years behind bars. Anyone encouraging prostitution by minors, including pimps, and people running brothels or escort services, will face up to 10 years in prison.

The law change also raises the legal age to participate in pornography, making it a crime punishable by up to five years in jail to produce, import, promote, screen or possess pornography featuring minors.



Update: Ticks in the Right Boxes...

Zurich reports that drive-in boxes for sex workers have worked out well so far

Link Here 23rd October 2013
Full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths

Switzerland's first sex drive-in, which opened two months ago in a bid to take prostitution off Zurich's streets, has been a success, the city said following an initial evaluation. Michael Herzig, director of social services for sex workers in the city, told reporters:

After two months I can say that this guarded prostitution site is working. We did not have any major problems, such as with pimps, violence or the neighbourhood

He said he was surprised things had gone so smoothly. He noted that an average of 14 sex workers had used the site each day since it opened compared to about 30 who had been working in the previous red-light street.

The drive-in has a track where the sex workers can parade and negotiate a price, and nine so-called sex boxes where they and their clients can park and conclude the transaction. Machines resembling parking metres have been installed, and the prostitutes are required to contribute 5.0 Swiss francs (4 euros) each night in taxes to help Zurich cover the cost of running the place.

Security guards check there is only one man in each car coming in and are there to respond to alarm buttons in each sex bo x. There are on-site doctors and social workers.



Update: Running Like Clockwork...

Drive in booths for Zurich sex workers deemed a success

Link Here 29th August 2014
Full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths
The world's first drive-thru brothels has been deemed a success by Swiss social services, a year after being created.

The drive-in sex boxes were installed in Zurich last year, offering sex workers a safer place to provide their services rather than the street. Set up on the edge of the city, the facility provides bathrooms, laundry and even has its own security.

The creation cost the government 2million Euros to build and has risen in popularity over the last 12 months. Around 30 to 40 women ply their trade there each night.

Zurich authorities believe the idea has been extremely positive and want prostitution, which has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, to continue running safely. A statement from social services read:

The new regulation of street prostitution has attained its objectives of protecting the population and the sex workers. The first year of the service has been positive.



Update: Green woman waiting for the green man to cross the road...

New road signs in Basel, Switzerland

Link Here30th June 2016
Full story: Sex Workers in Switzerland...New ideas such as drive in privacy booths
New street signs showing a busty woman waiting beside a lamp post are being painted on the pavements of Basel, Switzerland, to show sex workers the zone where they can legally ply their trade.

The signs are aimed at keeping sex workers inside the tolerance zone in the city's Kleinbasel district. About 50 work outdoors in the area designated as legal for street soliciting.

Basel's security and justice department said in a statement:

There is a high turnover of street workers in that part of the city. But many are from Eastern Europe, which can make it difficult to convey the rules they must obey. So we hope these signs will make it very clear where they can and can not tout for business.

old Walking Street sign





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