In the world of adult dating/sex work, there are two types of people: those who think that they are good at being a service provider and those who think that they are great at giving services. Technically speaking, anybody can start up an escort agency. In fact, hundreds of qualified individuals attempt to establish themselves as escort/ sex workers each year.
But usually the most successful individuals are the ones who’ve been sex workers themselves. And while it is true that the majority of folks starting up an escort agency are actually former prostitutes themselves, there are some exceptions. Recently, a woman operating an online escort agency was sentenced to almost 14 years in jail after she had lured several men to her home for what turned out to be “date-rape” sessions. And even though she was convicted of soliciting a sex act from a man she knew was HIV positive, this wasn’t the only crime she was charged with.
According to court records, the woman’s real profession was “escort service.” She would advertise herself as a professional dominatrix in online personals and contact her “patrons” by phone or email. She’d offer them all kinds of tantalizing deals: On the one hand, she would promise to give the man in her care a free massage; on the other, she would agree to go to a “sex club” where she would perform sexual acts for him in exchange for money. When these offers were made, not all her “patrons” showed up: Some wound up with her boyfriend instead.
The woman in question later told the judge that she had signed up as an escort agency employee simply because she was feeling bad about herself. She claimed to have been trying to get her life back together after getting “railroad railroaded” by her boyfriend. But now that she was being held financially responsible for the “services” she performed, she could no longer see any reason not to pursue a case against her employer. After all, what good is it to pay someone to kill yourself so you can move on? If the state thinks prostitution is acceptable, why should anyone who works in an escort services agency think it’s okay?
Many agencies have tried to distance themselves from these women’s complaints. They say the charges against them are based on the fact that many women are seeking out dangerous situations in which they can engage in sex acts with strangers. They say it’s all a matter of public perception and that people should not be forced to tolerate the body modification or sexual harassment that goes along with an escort job. To stop this from happening to other women, escort agencies are making it harder for potential employees to become members.
This latest development comes as another example of how prostitution can take on an entirely new meaning when it becomes the domain of the escort agency. Just as a traditional red-light district became a playground for teenage runaways, so too has the online escort agency. This type of work is one that women around the world have taken up and with the advent of the internet, more women are being lured into this form of online employment. What will happen when the term agency is no longer used to describe those who are engaged in prostitution?