Vice Squad
Monday, May 03, 2004
City of Zurich Buying Brothel Buildings

There are some 300 licensed, legal brothels in Zurich, Switzerland, and about ten times that number of licensed prostitutes. Residents and city authorities have been particularly concerned, however, about the deterioration of the Langstrasse neighborhood, which is home to a large number of brothels. So, for the past year the city has been buying or underwriting the sale of brothel buildings, and changing their use: "'Up to 20 brothels have closed down and moved to other areas on the outskirts of Zurich,' notes [the head of a Langstrasse neighborhood association]. 'In these areas, clients don't have parking problems and don't cause a nuisance.'" Last year, in another effort to combat public nuisance aspects of prostitution, Zurich outlawed the display of prostitutes in windows. The linked article on the window ban also includes an estimate of the prevalence of prostitution in Zurich and elsewhere where it is legal:

"With a general population of just 364,558 living in Zurich, approximately one woman in 55 would appear to be working in the city's sex industry.

According to rough estimates provided by the European HIV prevention network, Europap, that puts Zurich a lot closer to Amsterdam (one woman in 35) than to large cities such as London (one in 300)."

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