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Drive-in prostitution project stalled in Zurich

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Drive-in prostitution project stalled in Zurich
Stefan Andrej Shambora
10:59 CET+01:00

The Swiss People’s Party has launched a referendum to slow down the progress of the intended development in Zurich of drive-in postitution stalls.  

The City of Zurich wants to build a designated area for prostitution in an effort to clear the night workers from the stretch of the Sihl River that runs north of the city centre.

The numbers of prostitutes working along the stretch known as the Sihlquai has grown hugely in the past years and police are finding it hard to keep control, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

Local residents have complained of finding used condoms, tissues and other human waste every morning strewn about the area.

As a result, Zurich City Council wants to contain the activity by building a special drive-in area that allows customers to receive services on-site in Altstetten on the outskirts of the city. 

“The goal is that prostitution is now conducted in a controlled area, so that residents are less distracted and women better protected,” Martin Waser, from the Department of Social Welfare in Zurich told the newspaper.

But the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) believes that the initial outlay of 2.4 million francs ($2.6 million) and yearly land rental costs of 92,000 francs ($100,174) of taxpayers’ money should not be put to such uses.

Neither, says the SVP, should public money be used for the pleasure of just a few.

According to the SVP, the problem has increased because of unchecked migration from Eastern Europe.

“The trade at Sihlquai has existed for decades without causing too many problems”, Zurich SVP member, Sven Oliver Dogwiler, told the newspaper.

“But since the entry into force of the free movement of people, countless prostitutes and pimps have arrived from Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The idea of a drive-in just moves the problem.”

Both sides of the debate point to both successes and failures in Germany, which has established similar projects across the country. The issue will be put to the vote on Sunday.

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