Signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes

New signs are sprouting up in Basel’s red light district designed to tell streetwalkers where they may legally tout for business.

Signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Photo: Justice and Security Department, Basel

The green signs painted on the street – showing a woman posing against a street light – aim to combat the problem of prostitutes looking for customers outside the ‘tolerance zone’ established by the city in the district of Kleinbasel.

Around 800 women work in the sex trade in Basel, the majority in salons or bars.

Some 30-50 work on the street in the Kleinbasel tolerance zone, but many do not seem to know the rules and stray from the designated area.

In a statement on Monday, Basel’s security and justice department said there was a high turnover of streetwalkers in the area, partly due to the influx of prostitutes arriving from Eastern Europe,  “which sometimes makes it difficult to convey the legal rules”.

In the past year police have caught 120 women touting for business outside the designated zone, said the statement.

The situation has angered residents. Six months ago a petition called for Basel police to take tougher action, reported Blick.

The new markings will clearly show prostitutes where the tolerance zone begins and ends, making violations “easier for the police to prosecute”, said the authorities.

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland though controlled by regulations, including city bylaws specifying strict zones for streetwalking.

The country’s initiatives on the issue include opening ‘sex boxes’ in Zurich where prostitutes may ply their trade in relative safety away from the city centre.

Despite the challenges in Basel, a ban on prostitution is not the answer since it would be more difficult to control if illegal, authorities told the Basler Zeitung on Tuesday.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swiss public broadcaster refuses to air advert for sex toys advent calendar

Swiss public broadcaster SRF has denied an advertising slot to a company selling an advent calendar with sex toys.

Swiss public broadcaster refuses to air advert for sex toys advent calendar
Photo: KateNovikova/Depositphotos

An advert by Swiss online sex toys retailer Amorana has been refused airtime by Swiss public broadcaster SRF. Amorana's advent calendar offers dildos and other sex toys as presents in the calendar, although the products do not feature in the advert.

The advert shows a woman dressed as a superhero shoving an advent calendar into her man's arms, after slapping him, and declaring: “This is a great Christmas present.” The advert does not implicitly make any reference to sex or sex toys. 

A spokeswoman for the public broadcaster SRF said the decision was made in consideration for “the moral values” of minority groups that could be sensitive to the content, according to Swiss daily 20 Minutes.  

Amorana's co-founder Alan Frei told The Local his company received the following response from SRF:

“Even if the advertised spot only implies Amorana's offer in this form, the offer is the same. We (SRF) do not want to violate the values and feelings of individual audiences and, for image reasons, we do not want to offer ourselves as an advertising platform for sex paraphernalia.”

READ ALSO: US researcher blasts Swiss magazine's sexist depiction

The broadcaster was accused of double standards though as one of its own shows last year ran a programme called 'Vibrator Test – What Women Like'. Amorana, in a statement, also accused the broadcaster of double standards, asking why SRF broadcasts product tests for vibrators and documentaries on sex toys, but won't allow advertising. 

The Amorana advert will still run on private broadcasters “that don't have a problem with our advert”, Alan Frei, Amorana's co-founder, told The Local by email. 

READ MORE: Swiss broadcaster to cut less jobs than previously announced