After one year of experimental operation, social services in Switzerland are calling the "sex drive-in" in Zürich "a success." They're saying it's allowed for better regulation of prostitution which in turn has made the situation safer for people on both ends of sexual transactions.
The Guardian reports that "an average of 15" sex workers conducted their business each night at the drive-thru over the past twelve months, which is apparently "about half" the number that was working in the city's red light district before the government started regulations.
Authorities said the increase of "streetwalkers;" prostitutes doing their thing outside the scrutiny or protection of the law, has stopped increasing since the drive-thru opened.
The car-based brothel is outside the city center to a "former industrial quarter" in the Altstetten district which I gather is not particularly glamorous. One could argue the real mission of the initiative was to get sex workers out of sight and out of mind for tourists and rich people, but social services maintain that's not the case.
When the place was erected (hehe) last August, Michael Herzig of Zürich's social welfare department told USA Today "we built the place to be secure for the sex workers. It also had to be discreet for the sex workers and the clientele. But we thought if we build the place, we can also make it look good."
Elaborating on their mission, he added; "We can't solve the whole problem of exploitation and human trafficking, but at least we want to reduce the harm, especially the violence."
Business is conducted in your car; you're not allowed to walk up or arrive on a two-wheeler.
Prostitutes were/are encouraged to take their business to the drive-thru with the promise of being able to work in peace and safety. Access to the facilities "amenities" such as laundry, shower, and café, require workers to get permits and pay tax on their income.
Swiss authorities told The Guardian that the brothel's neighbors have not been complaining, but prostitutes say they're not earning as much money as they used to when they worked near Zürich's bars and clubs in the city center.
Apparently it's also "more expensive to run than initially anticipated" but nobody seems to be breaking out what they're spending on or how that money compares to hospital visits and social problems Switzerland experienced in years preceding last, when they had looser regulations on sex trade.
The country has had legalized prostitution since the early 1940's, and seemingly will continue to. Possibly more in drive-thru form since they seem so pleased with their results so far.
Hat tip to Autoblog! Image: Andrew P. Collins. But yes, that is the actual sign outside the drive-thru brothel.