ZURICH, Switzerland (KSDK) - A drive-in sex garage will soon open to give prostitutes a safe place to ply their trade while creating less of a public nuisance for downtown residents and businesses in a Swiss metropolis.
Last year, voters in Zurich approved spending $2.6 million in government funds to build the open wooden garages, commonly referred to as "sex boxes." The city will spend an additional $760,000 per year to keep the sex boxes open.
According to a report by the Associated Press, local business owners said prostitution, which has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, was causing unsanitary conditions in downtown Zurich, and leading to associated drug use, aggressive clients and violence against women.
PHOTOS: Drive-in 'sex boxes' appear in European metropolis
The concept of the sex boxes aims to combat violence with its "open garage" format, allowing prostitutes to negotiate terms with potential clients along a nearby road in a small park built in a former industrial area. The sex boxes themselves will be equipped with a panic button for safety, which will alert on-site social workers and nearby police.
Surveillance cameras will not be used at the sex boxes to maintain client confidentiality.
Sex workers will need a permit (which costs $43 a year) and pay a small tax ($5.40 per night), to use the site. This money will help cover future maintenance costs. Men who solicit sex workers outside any of the approved zones could be fined up to $500.
The sex boxes are modeled after popular drive-in brothels in Germany and the Netherlands.