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Focus on Europe

Switzerland: Cross-border sex workers

The prostitution industry is booming in southern Switzerland. Estimates already say that the majority of customers are from Italy, with a rising number of sex workers hailing from Eastern Europe. Due to open borders and the legalization of prostitution in Switzerland, authorities are continually haveing to invent new methods of intervening in the world's oldest trade.

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The women work in Switzerland to benefit from police protection and other favorable conditions. They pay taxes and social security and will later be able to claim a pension. In the canton of Ticino, however, prostitutes are facing a growing number of stipulations, e.g. applying for permits, writing application letters and submitting "business plans”. As a result, illegal prostitution is growing.