Switzerland has opened drive-in “sex boxes” in an effort to make prostitution safer.
August 26 will see nine wooden sheds opened in Zurich specifically for men to have sex discreetly with hired prostitutes. They look like garages or shelters for hikers in a national park, but inside hang public service announcements about safe sex and STDs. They’re also equipped with alarms that prostitutes can sound if they feel their client is putting them in danger.
The “sex boxes” are only open to people who drive cars. Pedestrians and motorcycle operators are not allowed. They will open early in the evening and close around 5 AM.
This is part of a greater initiative to keep sex workers out of residential and metropolitan areas. Men soliciting prostitutes outside of the approved zones will face steep fines.
“We want to regulate prostitution because until now it was the law of the jungle,” said Michael Herzig, from Zurich’s social welfare department.
“It was the pimps who decided the prices, for instance. We are trying to reach a situation which is better for the prostitutes themselves, for their health and security and also for people who live in Zurich.”
The price tag on the project is £1.4 million, which Swiss authorities may recollect with a £3.50 tax on prostitutes for each night that they work.
Though prostitution is otherwise legal in Switzerland, Zurich authorities are concerned about the growing number of sex workers flooding the country, particularly from Eastern European countries like Hungary. These “sex boxes” seem to be a compromise between the sex industry and the notorious prudes in the country (read: sarcasm).