Signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes

New signs are sprouting up in Basel’s red light district designed to tell streetwalkers where they may legally tout for business.

Signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Photo: Justice and Security Department, Basel

The green signs painted on the street – showing a woman posing against a street light – aim to combat the problem of prostitutes looking for customers outside the ‘tolerance zone’ established by the city in the district of Kleinbasel.

Around 800 women work in the sex trade in Basel, the majority in salons or bars.

Some 30-50 work on the street in the Kleinbasel tolerance zone, but many do not seem to know the rules and stray from the designated area.

In a statement on Monday, Basel’s security and justice department said there was a high turnover of streetwalkers in the area, partly due to the influx of prostitutes arriving from Eastern Europe,  “which sometimes makes it difficult to convey the legal rules”.

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

The situation has angered residents. Six months ago a petition called for Basel police to take tougher action, reported Blick.

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

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

The country’s initiatives on the issue include opening ‘sex boxes’ in Zurich where prostitutes may ply their trade in relative safety away from the city centre.

Despite the challenges in Basel, a ban on prostitution is not the answer since it would be more difficult to control if illegal, authorities told the Basler Zeitung on Tuesday.

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France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

READ ALSO The divorce laws in France that foreigners need to be aware of

The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif féministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.