As we’ve learned from the writer in our wonderful Harlotry series, sex workers face a lot of difficulties when it comes to safety issues — often due to laws that are intended to “protect” citizens that, in reality, make sex workers’ lives much harder and less safe. Fortunately, some places in the world seem to actually see these women (and men) as human beings and want to improve conditions.
In Zurich, Switzerland, an effort to regulate prostitution has been enacted through the construction of wooden sheds that will serve as locations for sex workers to service clients. They are being unofficially called “drive-in sex boxes” by locals (which seems like something the Lonely Island would come up with), and project director Michael Herzig feels they can help keep sex work limited to those who actually choose to do it.
“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.”
Plus, the “sex boxes” all are equipped with alarms, thus making it easier to notify others in the event of a serious problem and hopefully deterring any potential crimes from occurring in the first place.
Ursula Kocher of the Flora Dora centre for women told EuroNews that this is a positive change in sex work:
“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.”
Oh, and what is even more awesome? The project was approved by voters, meaning the population of Zurich actually wanted this project to occur rather than naively believing that limiting sex workers’ rights will eliminate sex work. Good job, Zurich!