SWITZERLAND - As Switzerland opened its first drive-in to provide a safer environment for prostitutes to service their clients yesterday, residents and politicians remained divided over the scheme.
The nine so-called "sex boxes" (above) are available to prostitutes and their clients in a former industrial zone in Zurich.
Inspired by a similar initiative in Germany, the Zurich authorities want to alter the image of the city's Sihlquai district, where sex workers openly ply their trade each night.
When AFP visited Sihlquai last Friday, half-naked women were standing on street corners in little more than their underwear, and sometimes even less, with one woman dancing provocatively to attract passing cars.
"Prostitution is a business basically.
We cannot prohibit it, so we want to control it in favour of the sex workers and the population," said Mr Michael Herzig, director of social services for sex workers in the city.
"Because if we do not control it, organised crime is taking over and the pimps are taking over," he added.
Local authorities recognise that they have no guarantee that the new site will be successful but have worked hard to convince prostitutes to come and inspect the premises.
The sex drive-in cost 2.1 million Swiss francs (S$3.2 million) and operating costs will be approximately 700,000 Swiss francs a year.
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