Attempts to curb the dangers of prostitution in Zurich mean that soon the Swiss City’s council will be operating specially designated “sex boxes” according to The Telegraph:
[These will] provide a discreet location for prostitutes and their clients to conduct business when they open in August next year.
Located in an industrial area of the city, the row of garage-like boxes will have roofs and walls for privacy, and easy access for cars. The council estimates that around 30 prostitutes will meet clients at the site of the boxes, and use the drive-in slots on a first-come-first-served basis.
This last bit sounds very practical. A last-come-first-served basis might be problematic.
The booths will have inbuilt panic alarms and are aimed at making prostitution ‘safer’ and more economically viable, according to The Daily Mail:
An on-site counsellor will also be provided in the taxpayer funded scheme.
Prostitution will be banned in certain parts of the city and confined to the booths and two other zones after they open in August.
Michael Herzig, spokesperson for Zurich Social Welfare Department, said: ‘The big difference is that until now prostitution is in a public space.
‘Now we are going to change this, transfer it from the street, from a public to a private space to an old industrial area which belongs to the city that give us the possibility to define the rules of prostitution in this space.
‘The women will be better protected from attack, and it will also mean better business for them.
‘With the women right by the sex boxes there is no “travel time” so they can deal with more customers. It’s a better business model than standing on the street.’
Prostitutes will also have to apply for a £26 licence, register with a health insurer and buy a ticket each night for about £3 before they begin soliciting customers from January onwards.
On one level it seems like a good solution to a problem as old as the hills.
However there are complex implications for Western societies who choose to gradually legitimise this profession. A possible logical end point to this process was glimpsed in the UK back in 2010 when it was reported Job Centres had begun advertising for lapdancers, webcam girls and topless barmaids. The public outcry forced politicians to ban them from doing so. as in the UK refusing to seriously consider opportunities offered by your local Job Centre can result in you losing your welfare entitlement. In other words there was a real possibility the state was forcing women into a life choice that is certainly not fit for everyone. But if there’s nothing wrong with people working in these professions how do you logically argue that the unemployed should not seriously consider them as an option?
I think it puts an interesting twist on the recent and popular Disinfo article: “Are We Headed Toward An Economy Based Around Serving Rich People?“.