Zurich’s Drive-In ‘Sex Boxes’ Off to a Modest Start

I ran across this and got so sad…it’s like, here are these “cribs” like they had in ancient Rome, where nameless, faceless women are sold over and over and over. Are they voluntarily selling themselves in “sex boxes”? Why would they? What a bleak, sterile existence. Yes, as the article says, it might be better, safer than having sex with a strange man in the woods or a parking lot. Yes, I’m sure of that. But that kind of sex is always, always connected to drug addiction, pimping, trafficking, or all three. I’m ashamed of a country that can purport to legalize prostitution and then put women in boxes like packaged meat at the grocery store.

Traffick Alerts

Greeted by a press pack rather than prostitutes, the first customer to roll up to Switzerland’s sex drive-in on opening night took one lap of the facility before making a hasty exit.

The second car, a family vehicle driven by a man in sunglasses under cloudy evening skies, broke down and needed jump starting in front of a host of photographers, sniggering into their cameras.

Zurich authorities had said they expected a modest start to the country’s first so-called “sex boxes”, a row of drive-in wooden garages on a looping track where clients in cars can visit prostitutes, shielded from prying eyes and security cameras.

With an estimated annual turnover of around 3.5 billion Swiss francs ($3.79 billion), prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, with sex workers in Zurich required to have a special permit, health insurance and pay tax.

The number of prostitutes in the Alpine nation…

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  1. prostitution has existed since the dawn of time, women who were willing, whose only option it was, men who want. i guess, if you accept the premise that it has existed for so long, and that it will continue to exist, then you can either choose criminalization, which puts the women in even more vulnerable positions in regards to both society, police, and their ‘clients’ and locations of transactions. the other option is what we are seeing with decriminalization, offering safer positions in society, policing, health, and clients and locations of business.

    the position that any woman in this profession is a victim of human or other trafficking may be true for some women–life circumstance, lack of education, lack of social capital, lack of other options–but not necessarily for all women in this profession, who may actually have other options and yet still choose this. it is doubtful any given society will ever be able to rid itself of this profession, as the demand will most certainly continue to exist. given this, it is most likely a better and more humane and civilized approach to provide decriminalization of this occupation and providing healthcare and other safety to them rather than pushing them to the utmost extremes of the margins of society where they live without any safety or protection at all, in extreme danger every moment.

    • Kat, we often hear that “prostitution has existed since the dawn of time,” but we have no evidence for that. We know that it existed in the Roman Empire, but those were women who were captured in war (human trafficking, in other words). There are women who will say that they are doing this voluntarily, but when you get down to the core you find that they are doing it because they have a terrible self image, a history of childhood sexual abuse/incest, or, unfortunately, were trafficked by their own families. Ruth Jacobs has extensive information on her Soul Destruction blog http://soul-destruction.com/, and there are many survivors of prostitution who speak out in the Facebook anti-trafficking groups and Survivor groups. I myself am a Survivor of prostitution and it sure wasn’t a positive experience for me.

      A more sensible and effective way of dealing with the conundrum of prostitution is the Nordic Model, where prostitutes are not treated as criminals, but buyers of sex are. Prostitutes are given the opportunity for education and vocational training, which many lack because the average age of entry into prostitution is between 11 and 13 years! Not a voluntary choice at that age. There are many articles about prostitution in my archives for the month of January because that was Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

      • well here you provide more information than what my response was based on. i agree, with this information here, that the nordic model sounds most useful. however, given the information in the original post, the zurich model was best. i never meant to imply that prostitution was a positive experience for anyone, simply that some are literally forced into it while others seem to fall into it. i never meant to imply it was a great career choice. sorry if i was not clear.

        • Thanks, Kat. There’s a ton of information about the realities of life as a prostitute on the web right now, because of the push to end pimping, abductions by “loverboys,: (there’s a great video on Vimeo called “Loverboy” that describes how that strategy works to deceive young girls into what they think is going to be a better life with a “boyfriend” and find out the hard way that he is actually a pimp), and prostitution that is entered out of desperation because of drug addiction. Now you’ve got me inspired–I might have to write a new post that’s mostly links about this! Take good care–Laura


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