Zürich ‘Sex Drive-In’ Successfully Completes One Year, But Costs More Than Estimated

The Swiss are patting themselves on the back for the reported success of an innovative approach to brothels. What started as an experiment has completed a whole year, and the response, though slightly divided, has been positive overall.

About two years ago, the Zurich Social Services had managed to secure approval for “Drive-In Sex Booths.” They had successfully argued that these booths will be much safer for the customers, as well the commercial sex workers who mostly worked late evenings and nights. About a year ago, Switzerland authorities formally launched the sex drive-ins in Sihlquai, an old industrial area to the west of Switzerland’s largest city.

The Sex Drive-In Has Helpful Signposts And Directions

The first-of-its kind sex drive-in, supported by the municipality, was replete with helpful signposts that guided interested customers to their destination. The “brothel” had understated and supposedly discreet “sex-boxes.” These boxes had alarm buttons and the area was patrolled by security personnel to ensure the safety of the prostitutes and customers. Moreover, customers weren’t allowed to leave the area with the sex workers.

If that’s not all, the sex drive-in also featured a laundry, shower facilities and café. The only caveats were that the commercial sex workers had to register themselves and secure a work-permit. Moreover, their “earnings” were liable to taxes, reported The Guardian.

But, the Social Services is confident that the experiment has proved to be a success,

“The new regulation of street prostitution has attained its objectives of protecting the population and the sex workers. No increase in street walkers had been noticed in the two other districts of the city where prostitution was tolerated. The first year of the service has been positive.”

Though the response has been promising, the Social Service authorities do agree that that not everyone is happy. Some sex workers have complained that their earnings have fallen and that they are too far from city-centre bars and nightclubs. Needless to say, the sex workers feel the sex drive-in isn’t ideally located near the places people frequent, and hence, their customers would have to make the long drive to the outskirts of the city.

But the Social Services have their own problems to deal with. The sex drive-in has proven to be a rather more costly affair than initially estimated. The first-of-its-kind sex drive-in cost about 2 million euros ($2.6 million) to set-up and manage and currently averages about 15 sex workers per night, which is far below the earlier estimated figure. Nonetheless, Social Services are confident that, looking at the benefits, the sex drive-in should attract more sex-workers and customers.

[Image Credit | EPA/Steffen Schmidt, Reuters]