1. ITV Report

Zurich launches sex drive-in in a bid to keep prostitutes safe

A sign showing the way to the prostitutes stands is. Photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

A sex drive-in will be officially opened in Zurich today a year after voters backed a plan to ban prostitutes from the Swiss city centre, in a bid to make prostitution safer for both sex workers and customers.

After passing a check-in gate drivers, who must be alone in their vehicles, follow a marked route, negotiate a rate with one of the 40 prostitutes stationed there and drive on to one of nine partially enclosed wooden booths.

The facility includes a social room, toilets and showers for the working women, who have to buy a 'worker ticket' each evening. Panic alarms are also installed in the wooden sheds.

A man walks past prostitutes stands during an open day at a sex drive-in. Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Inspired by a similar initiative in Germany, the Zurich authorities want to alter the image of the city's Sihlquai district, where sex workers openly ply their trade each night, to the dismay of residents.

"Prostitution is a business basically. We cannot prohibit it, so we want to control it in favour of the sex workers and the population," said Mr Michael Herzig, director of social services for sex workers in the city.