News & Politics

Drive-in Sex Boxes? One European City's Bright Idea

Zurich, Switzerland is building wooden sheds with alarms so that men and women can exchange sex for money more safely.

Old street in Zurich decorated with flags for the Swiss National Day, 1st of August.
Photo Credit: Alexander Chaikin/

Zurich, Switzerland is taking a novel approach to prostitution: building safe wooden sheds so that men can pay for sex services from an approved area. Euronews reports that the initiative, approved by voters in Zurich last year, is meant to improve prostitutes’ security.

The shelters for sex are being called “drive-in sex boxes” by locals in the country. “We’ve had a problem here which has been getting worse over the last few years, especially regarding Roma women, some of whom were being forced into prostitution. This was a degrading situation which we really had to stop,” Michael Herzig, the project director, told the news outlet.

What makes them more safe is that the sheds are built with alarms. Ursula Kocher of the Flora Dora centre for women told Euronews that “this solution has several advantages: the support service for the women is better because we are directly here on site. The infrastructure is better. The women can come to us and use the shower and the toilets. We can talk to them without other people listening and the area is closed and observable.”

Backers of the project hope that it will encourage sex workers to take their business to these approved areas. The areas are open from the early evening until 5am and are only available to drivers.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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