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New tolerance zones in Basel for sex workers

Local News // June 28, 2016
New tolerance zones in Basel for sex workers

It's hoped new street markings will help keep street prostitution under control in Kleinbasler in Basel.

The green dashes and logo, showing a woman leaning against a lamppost, mark the borders of a tolerance zone where prostitutes can attract customers.

Local authorities say it won't solve existing problems around the red-light district, but may help police control the practice.

There are around 800 sex workers in Basel, the majority working in salons or bars.

Around 30 to 50 of them - about five percent - work on the street in the Kleinbasel tolerance zone, but many do not seem to know the rules and stray from the designated area.

Basel's security and justice department say there has been a high turnover of prostitutes recently, mainly from EU countries in Eastern Europe, who are increasing competition, creating price falls and making it hard to convey the rules.

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

The situation has resentment amongst local residents who six months ago petitioned Basel police to take tougher action

Over 2000 of about 3300 women in Basel last year reported to the Office of Economics and Labour that they had worked up to 90 days in Switzerland.

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

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

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