Strong Swiss franc boosts trade at German brothels

Romanian prostitutes pose in the brothel "Pussy Club" in Schoenefeld in this April 15, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Files

ZURICH (Reuters) - A jump in the Swiss franc against the euro, which threatens to push the country's economy into recession, is boosting trade in brothels across the border in Germany. Those who earn wages in francs have been streaming into neighboring countries in search of bargains since the Swiss central bank ditched a currency cap last month, making goods and services priced in euros almost 20 percent cheaper overnight. "Swiss now account for about 50 percent of our customers," newspaper 20 Minuten quoted an employee of FFK Palast, a brothel a short drive from the border in Freiburg, as saying on Friday. The German establishment is flying Swiss flags and offers customers a one-to-one euro/franc rate, better than the official rate of around 1 euro to 1.06 francs, the Swiss newspaper said. Further east at Club Imperia in the border town of Konstanz, German daily Bild reported seeing the parking lot more than half-full of cars with Swiss number plates. In response, some Swiss brothels have launched special promotions. "We are keeping the euro stable," Saunaclub FKK Basel, located in Switzerland's capital, says on its website. Prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, while in Germany prostitutes have been allowed to advertise and enter formal labor contracts since 2002. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by John Stonestreet)