A single, non-descript car creeps round the ring road bend as the sun dips below the jagged, snow-dusted peaks of the Swiss Alps in the distance. The driver – a middle aged man by his appearance – cruises slowly passed the low roofed, wooden boxes, his eyes roving hungrily over the fleshy, sensual wares on offer.
Suddenly a shutter whirs, the cameras flash in the gathering darkness – a pack of scoop hungry journalists emerge from behind every bush and tree, eager to get a shot of the first paying customer in the history of the Swiss sex box. Like a startled deer the driver mashes his Volvo into first and accelerates away from the scene in a shower of gravel and tire smoke.
Nobody wants to have their face plastered all over this story. The journo’s snigger and return to their gloomy hiding spots.
Yahoo report that the second car to come across this new, distinctly European blend of a drive-thru McDonalds and a bordello was a family in a 4WD, which subsequently broke down.
Since the legalisation of prostitution in Switzerland in 1942, the flesh-trade has become big business in the country. It has been estimated to bring in over three billion Swiss francs ($3.8 billion) annually.
It is also highly regulated, with sex workers in Switzerland requiring special work permits, health insurance and they all pay tax. The government however have become concerned that the increasing number of women turning to the sex trade and the number of men utilising their services have turned otherwise pristine street corners in cities like Zurich into seedy dens of iniquity – not ideal for tourism.
“The existing strips were simply too strained,” said Ursula Kocher at Zurich’s welfare department.
“The conditions for the women were completely unhygienic and dangerous, they had to work in woods or secluded car parks,” Kocher said, standing in front of the boxes.
Switzerland’s sex boxes echo similar set ups in Germany and Holland and include showers, a laundry room and on-site health workers and panic buttons just in case anything untoward takes place.
Now men can cruise passed these boxes anytime between 7.00pm and 5.00am, choose a prostitute and then park in one of the nine boxes. I imagine these might get a tad congested on the weekends…
Despite the slow start for the sex boxes, the government is convinced they will provide an elegant solution for all parties. Although, let’s be honest, they don’t look very comfortable, not based on this photograph anyway…
There’s probably a box joke somewhere in this story, but I’m not clever enough to come up with it. Instead here’s a random video from The Simpsons.