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Luxury call girls hook rich clients in Zurich



Is that really his girlfriend?

Is that really his girlfriend?

(Keystone)

The sex trade is evident in some parts of Zurich, so much so that the city may erect “sex boxes” where streetwalkers can do their business more discreetly.

Yet this won’t be necessary for the city’s other breed of prostitute – the luxury escort. Unlike hookers, who stand in the cold waiting for a car to climb into, these women often meet their clients in fancy hotels.

There are several escort agencies based in Zurich and many of them target wealthy businessmen.

“Experience Zurich's charm in a relaxed atmosphere and accompanied by charming dream escort women,” reads the English page of one escort service.

The “erotic tour”, which can be done by limousine if desired, includes sites like the opera house and the Niederdorf neighbourhood.

“It’s insane how Zurich has developed into some sort of a sex capital,” said Eva, the manager of the service.

Her agency is geared toward well-heeled clients; prices start at SFr400 ($419) for an hour and go up to SFr2,000 for a whole night.

“We arrange more than sex. The women are elegant – they’re dinner partners. The women speak a lot of languages, which is ideal if the men have a business engagement,” Eva told swissinfo.ch.

She emphasises that her agency doesn’t deal in drugs or teenage call girls; most of the escorts are over 30, and many have been there since it opened 12 years ago.

“They know what they’re doing. Most of our clients are real top men, and they don’t want teenagers. They want women who know about life, who they can talk to like a friend,” Eva said.

A friend on call

One such “friend” is Marie, a 27-year-old Swiss flight attendant. She got interested after learning about the business from a colleague about a year ago.

“I’m a curious and adventurous person, and since I’m single I thought I’d try it,” Marie told swissinfo.ch. “For me it’s fascinating and thrilling – I often feel like I’m on a date.”

According to Marie, many of the clients are doctors and lawyers who shower her with tips and gifts. She meets about two a week, depending on her schedule with the airline.

“I love dates where I feel like a princess, with a really nice meal and a wonderful hotel – it’s great to be spoiled,” said Marie, who has even gone on holiday with clients to places like the Caribbean and Greece.

“I had to attend an important ball one time, and on the same day, the client and I attended a crash course in ballroom dance, and that was really funny,” she recalled.

Marie said she was also happy to earn some extra money as her flight attendant salary isn’t so high: “Now I can save for further education as well as treat myself to some luxury.”

Asked whether she ever felt uncomfortable sleeping with strangers for money, Marie admitted that it had taken some getting used to.

“I’ve travelled a lot through my job and I’m always meeting new people. For me it’s not so hard to get intimate with a stranger, but it’s certainly not for everyone,” Marie said.

Blacklisted

As the manager of the service, Eva fields the incoming calls and confirms that the customers are legitimate by checking the addresses and numbers they provide.

She keeps a blacklist of men she classifies as crude or misogynistic.

“We have wonderful women with super personalities – they don’t have to put up with that,” said Eva of her team. There is also a red list of men who are considered dangerous.

Marie is glad to have the agency watching her back.

“You have protection through the agency – you have to check in and out, and the agency knows where you are. That’s very important,” she said.

Ladarat Chitphong was not so fortunate; the 30-year-old call girl from Thailand was stabbed to death by a client in August 2008.

Her murderer, who dumped her body in a forest near his apartment in canton Thurgau, was sentenced to life on October 7, 2010. It was the first-ever life sentence handed down in Switzerland.

Andreas S. told swissinfo.ch that he had met Chitphong about five years before her murder. The dietary cook had asked the escort for a house visit.

When she arrived, she had a black eye and strangulation-marks on her neck, so Andreas took her to the police, where she was later referred to a shelter for battered women.

Andreas, who believes that prostitution can be quite a dangerous job, thinks that Chitphong’s killer should have been sentenced to death.

Sex appeal

“Before I was married, I ordered escorts because I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship,” said Andreas, who has been married twice, but is currently separated.

While some of the men who hire escorts are businessmen too busy for a girlfriend, many are married, according to Eva. She said that some clients have told her, “There’s no stress when you hire an escort.”

Andreas, 52, agrees that many johns are married men over 40 from all walks of life.

“Either they don’t get any sex at home, or they find their sex lives too monotonous. Or maybe there’s a sexual practice they want to engage in, but their wives don’t want to,” said Andreas, who admits that he sometimes paid for sex when his wife was not interested.

As Marie points out, there are no strings attached with an escort.

“There won’t be any arguments – just a nice time. An escort never makes any demands, and she provides absolute discretion,” said Marie.

Occasionally, a client falls in love with a call girl. This can be a tricky situation.

“We’re often surprised at how naive these men can be, despite the powerful positions they have,” said Eva.

Although she’s only been working as an escort for nine months, Marie has also experienced this phenomenon.

“The men know I’m not looking for a relationship, but sometimes I need to gently remind them to just enjoy the moment.”

Zurich, a sex capital?

swissinfo.ch checked in with Zurich Tourism spokesman Frank Bumann to ask about the city’s reputation as a sex capital.

Q: What does Zurich Tourism think about this?

A: We do not believe that there is more sex business in Zurich than other metropolitan cities in Europe. But Zurich is definitely a very attractive, vibrant international city.

Q: Do you think there are any worries about the reputation of the city?

A: No, not at all. Zurich has a very attractive nightlife with clubs, discos and all sorts of entertainment. Of course there are also escort services, working in a legal and transparent way.

So we do not fear any problems of reputation in respect to tourism up to now in the different markets. Zurich defines itself as a liberal and open-minded, international city.

end of infobox

Prostitution in Switzerland

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland but sex workers have to register with city and health authorities as well as get regular health checks.

This past summer, the Swiss government approved a parliamentary proposal to raise the legal age of prostitution from 16 to 18.

The new legislation came into effect on July 1, 2010, and aligned Swiss law with the Council of Europe convention on protecting children under 18 from sexual exploitation and abuse.

end of infobox

swissinfo.ch


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