Escorts, Agencies, and Prostitution


If you hear someone say that she is an “escort,” you are probably assuming that she means prostitute. We’ve all seen that in countless movies and on TV. Someone in a hotel calls an escort service and sure enough, twenty, thirty, minutes later, a hooker enters the room ready to get down to business. But what is the difference anyway? Is there a difference?


A prostitute is called a lot of things: hooker, lady of the evening, ho, streetwalker, etc. By definition, a prostitute is someone who exchanges sex for some form of compensation. That compensation is typically money, but it could also be drugs, goods, or services. The underlying factor is that sex, or some form of it, is exchanged for something of value. Most people think of a prostitute and think of a woman in scandalous clothing, perhaps standing on a shady street corner, which still exists in some areas. But the Internet has dramatically changed the sex trade and sex trafficking. Websites like Backpage and Craigslist are often used to advertise and facilitate prostitution. There are various levels and classes in prostitution, where some may charge by specific sex act while others charge by the unit of time. These levels can range from amounts as low as $15 or $20 all the way up to thousands of dollars. Some prostitutes may “work” for a pimp or a madam in what we may now recognize as one form of human trafficking, while others may work independently. Some may work on street corners, while others may work out of bars, nightclubs, or brothels.


An escort typically, but not always, works out of an escort agency, though pimps may still be involved. An escort agency may be a legal business, registered with the government, and paying taxes. An escort may be considered an employee of that agency or an independent contractor with the agency and the job may be considered legal. An agency operates legally by having a business that’s purpose is to provide a social service rather than a sexual one, as a sexual service would be prostitution and thus illegal. There are generally two types of meetings with an escort, in-call or out-call. An out-call is when it is arranged through the agency for an escort to come to an individual, whether that is a hotel, private residence, or business. An in-call would be when an individual comes to the location where the escort is. The actual agency buildings may vary, with some similar to lounges or bars, while others may be similar to a hotel or a bathhouse. The fees associated with the escorts ostensibly are for companionship, which will usually be defined as a social interaction or a conversational interaction, not a sexual interlude. From the escort agency’s perspective, some escorts may independently contract for sexual favors, but this is not done explicitly by the actual agency. That allows the agency to remain at arm’s length from the prostitution, or at least attempt to do so. The agency, and perhaps the escort as well, would describe any sex acts as consensual sex that happens with independent of the social interaction that was purchased by a client. Escort agencies are careful about not explicitly advertising or promising sexual acts for the exchange of money, and this is how they are often able to avoid prosecution from the government.

Legal vs. Illegal

Prostitution is illegal throughout the Untied States, with the exception of parts of Nevada. Escorts are legal in most states throughout the country, however the exact nature of what an escort is differs by jurisdiction. Engaging in or soliciting prostitution can result in a variety of criminal charges. In some cases, these charges can be dealt with discreetly, and quickly. If you have been charged with the act of prostitution or soliciting a prostitute, call our office for a free consultation and see what it is we can do to help you.