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'Sex boxes' mooted as possibility for Vienna

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Prostitute working in Vienna. Photo: APA/Helmut Fohringer
11:37 CEST+02:00
Vienna council is considering introducing drive-in brothels for street sex workers, as a way of dealing with problematic prostitution in certain areas of the city.

People living and working in Floridsdorf and Liesing have complained about sex workers plying their trade in their neighbourhoods.

Swiss authorities created a "sex drive-in" in Zurich last year, and social services hailed it a success.

Zürich's experiment began in August 2013, when the authorities opened Europe’s first municipal drive-in brothel in an old industrial area, complete with helpful signposts and understated wooden drive-in "sex boxes".

Sex workers who agreed to relocate from their traditional city-centre haunts were allowed to ply their trade at the brothel safely and with a minimum of fuss - so long as they obtained permits and paid tax.

Vienna city councillor Sandra Frauenberger told Die Presse newspaper that she plans to discuss the idea of introducing a similar scheme at the next steering group on prostitution with police and NGOs.

Street prostitution is legal in Vienna, but limited to certain streets around Liesing and Floridsdorf, in an effort to move it away from residential areas.

However, sex workers have complained that the areas lack toilets, good transportation links and ‘love’ hotels where rooms can be rented by the hour.

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