Zurich launches new prostitution digs: Drive-in ‘sex boxes’

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Zurich launched on Monday a new tax-paid facility for its prostitution industry, legal since 1942 — so-called “sex boxes” that provide private areas for the buyers and sellers to conduct their business in parked cars.

The newly constructed facilities — they look like car wash stations — called “sex boxes” are aimed at giving the prostitutes a safer area of operation that is away from the downtown hub. They stay open all night, are publicly funded, and include bathrooms, lockers, cafe tables and laundry and shower facilities, The Associated Press reported.

Men, meanwhile, won’t have to fear surveillance cameras, AP reported.

The sex workers still need their permits and will have to pay a tax to access the facilities. But many in the region see it as a win-win.

“Safety for the prostitutes,” said Daniel Hartmann, a Zurich lawyer, in the AP report. “At least it’s a certain kind of a shelter for them. They can do their business, and I respect them. They do a great job, and they have better working conditions here. They’re not exposed to the bosses, to the pimps, in here.”

The sex box facility held an open house for city residents over the weekend, so they could see how their tax dollars were spent. Last year, taxpayers had approved spending up to $2.4 million to relocate prostitutes away from the downtown area.

One retired schoolteacher said at the open house, AP reported: “I have to think about it for a long time because it’s so incredible that a city offers that to the men, and it’s interesting that there are many, many women here who are looking at it. [The sex boxes] are an effort to control a thing that you can’t really control.”

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