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A small Zurich non-governmental organisation has whipped up a storm with its demand for a ban on prostitution along the lines of the Swedish model. In Sweden, the use of sex services is banned and customers can be charged. Switzerland, on the other hand, is among the most permissive countries in the world as far as the sex trade goes: Both the supply and the consumption of sexual services is legal, as are street-walking, sex saunas and brothels. In Switzerland prostitution is a career; prostitutes pay taxes and most are registered as self-employed.
This led to a clash with the eponymous sister organisation in Germany. Prostitution is deeply degrading to women, she said. It should also be illegal for female clients to pay for the services of male prostitutes, according to the Zurich NGO. The Swiss TdF sees it differently. The latter should have the right to determine their own path and freedom to ply their trade.
It adds that gender-specific violence and human smuggling is not the same as sex work. This difference of opinion has led to the two organisations parting ways. There have been differences in the past because, for example, the Swiss organisation was not in favour of banning the burqa, or the headscarf for girls. The Swiss organisation will have to change its logo and name in future, she says.
A ban on prostitution would be expensive, the Tages-Anzeiger commented: If the sex trade is made illegal, then it would be necessary to help the women concerned to find new work, or to fund their retraining. Successes in Swiss drugs policy have shown that legalising those affected helps more in prevention than repressing them, the NZZ commented. Only the newspaper Blick - a tabloid which monetises sex topics like no other and earns good money with ads for sex — spoke out in opposition to a ban on prostitution, saying commercial sex is paid abuse.
The Council of Europe, the European Parliament and other countries have engaged in protracted, intense debate over prostitution. But since as early as , prostitution in Switzerland has been legal. At the end of the 20 th century the legal situation in Switzerland was so liberal that a disproportionately high number of brothels were founded here compared with other countries.