Swiss Brothels Adapt to Pandemic

Sex and Social Distance

Though Switzerland is still largely locked down due to the pandemic, an unlikely form of business is reopening. As ‘Erotic salons’ open again, covid is posing some unique challenges for customers and workers alike.

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‘Before the pandemic, the salon was working 24 hours a day. The new hours are killing us,’ says the patron of Geneva’s Venusia erotic salon. Her employees are now earning far less than in pre-pandemic times. Customers also face changes – now they must scan a QR code and enter their details when they use the salon. But most customers are happy to embrace this new approach ‘If a doctor knows my identity to get in touch with me, that’s fine. My wife won’t know where I’ve been,’ says one client. Though it may seem risky for sex work to resume, advocates argue that this protects the most vulnerable sex workers: ‘Self-employed sex workers are not entitled to unemployment. To survive, some of them took big risks. Some out of necessity, had to agree to work illegally. Women have been assaulted.’

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