Escort agencies are companies that provide escorts for clients, usually for sexual services. The agency typically arranges a meeting between one of its escorts and the client at the customer’s house or hotel room (outcall), or at the escort’s residence (incall). Some agencies also provide escorts for longer durations, who may stay with the client or travel along on a holiday or business trip. While the escort agency is paid a fee for this booking and dispatch service, the customer must negotiate any additional fees or arrangements directly with the escort for any other services that are not provided by the agency involved, such as providing sexual services (regardless of the legality of these services).
Escort agencies claim that they are dispatching these individuals to provide a social or conversational service rather than a sexual service, since prostitution laws often forbid taking payment for sex or communicating for the purpose of arranging a contract for sexual services. Advertisements for escort agencies often carefully skirt the legal line, and avoid specifically offering prostitution or sexual services. This fact in turn is well-known to police and the political powers, who, where prostitution is illegal, usually prefer to act against more visible and problematic street prostitution. This has been criticized as hypocrisy, especially where governments license and tax the escort agencies. However, there almost certainly do exist agencies that do go by these laws and do not facilitate prostitution. Some countries have used a two-pronged approach of criminalizing street prostitution but permitting or licensing prostitution in brothels or via escort agencies.
Escort agencies often recruit individuals to work as escorts by placing employment advertisements in a magazine or newspaper. Escort agencies typically maintain a list of escorts of different ages and appearances to cater to the varying interests of clients. Some agencies may specifically deal in a certain type of escort. There are male-for-male, female-for-male, and female-for-female escort agencies, as well as a few male-for-female agencies. Agencies commonly specialize in only one sex. Transsexual or transgender escorts are available from some escort agencies.
It is very common for escorts to enter the business through referrals from friends who have been in the business. The effectiveness of ads in weeklies or specialized sites has been questioned by some operators as there are so many that they are diluted. Typically, an escort will interview with an agency.
Once an agency decides to hire an escort, she or he will provide photographs or pose for a photographer. These pictures are posted on the agency’s website or circulated among clients to promote business.
Some larger escort agencies maintain websites with photo galleries of their escorts. Clients contact agencies by telephone and offer a description of what kind of escorts are sought. The agency will then suggest an escort who might fit that client’s need.
The agency collects the client’s contact information and calls the escort. Usually, to protect the identity of the escort and ensure effective communication with the client, the agency arranges the appointment. Sometimes, it may be up to the escort to contact the client directly to make arrangements for the location and time of an appointment. Generally, the escort is also expected to call the agency upon arrival at the location and upon leaving, to ensure the safety of the escort.