Zurich unveils sex drive-in

Published: August 16, 2013

 The Swiss city of Zurich on Thursday unveiled a sex drive-in which local authorities say will enable them to keep closer tabs on prostitution, a year after voters backed the plan.

 
Due to be opened officially in a ceremony on Aug 26, the nine so-called "sex boxes" are located in a former industrial zone in the west of the metropolis, Zurich city hall said in a statement.
 
The site will be open daily from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, and only to drivers, who must be alone in their vehicle if they want to pass the gate.
 
Echoing a fast-food drive-in, they will have to follow a marked route along which up to 40 prostitutes will be stationed. Once they have negotiated a rate, they will drive to one of the nine car-wash style boxes to have sex.
 
The boxes will be equipped with alarms, allowing the prostitutes to make rapid contact with police if they are in danger.
 
With over 1.8 million people, the Zurich conurbation makes up almost a quarter of Switzerland’s population, and the city itself has long been home to a red-light district.
 
But with local residents fed up of prostitutes and clients plying the streets, notably along the riverside Sihlquai, the authorities decided to try to shift the sex trade from the city centre.
 
In addition, officials have said that they want to ensure the safety of prostitutes, stem trafficking by crime networks and reduce the role of the underground sex trade.
 
The sex-box plan was approved by Zurich’s voters in March 2012 — referendums from the local to the national level are the bedrock of Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.
 
Work on the new site cost 2.1 million Swiss francs (US$2.2 million), below the voter-approved budget, while running costs are expected to be around 700,000 Swiss francs a year.
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