How the subtle differences between explicit and implicit marketing may keep escorts out of trouble

When you visit any typical escort mall (or directory), it’s common to see escorts’ ads promising everything from companionship and “full service” to great conversation and “unbelievable sex”. Many of these escorts who are blatantly advertising they are willing to have sex or engage in other sexual acts with their clients are breaking prostitution laws and could be arrested based on their advertising efforts.

Although the law is worded differently in all 50 states in the U.S., prostitution is generally defined as exchanging sex or sexual acts for money or other things of value and is considered illegal. So, any advertisement by an escort indicating that she will provide sex for money could be trouble in the making. However, what about those ads that don’t expressly say “sex”? Are they potentially troublesome for escorts, too?

Ads that specifically combine the issue of money and rates in relationship to services including sex are considered explicit ads. Explicit means that the ads leave nothing to be implied by clearly defining what a client can expect when he pays an escort for an encounter. Often, these ads graphically detail the included options, leaving little to the imagination. Ads that provide long lists of sexual services that are part of an escort’s offerings can be explicit evidence that she intends to commit prostitution.

It's a delicate balancing act

However, an escort who implies, through her marketing, she might be interested in consensual intimacy during an encounter isn’t breaking any laws, technically. But, her implicit suggestion could be enough to get attention from law enforcement. Implicit ads contain ambiguous and vague language that doesn’t clearly express what a client may expect, even though the nature of the encounter is pretty much understood by both parties. An escort’s implicit ad can be decoded to suggest to a client that she is willing to provide sex, even though she has not expressly promised such, especially if her ad is placed along with others that offer sexual acts.

Knowing that ads can set an escort up for legal trouble, it’s important to know the legal guidelines to be arrested by the police. Most states and law enforcement authorities require at least one of the following things to occur before they can charge someone with prostitution:

  • A discussion of exchanging sex for money (or other valuables): While most of the time an explicit conversation is required, all that has to be said, legally, is that a client can expect to experience sexually-related acts when he pays an escort’s rates. If an escort even combines a conversation about her rates and sex, it can be construed as an agreement for prostitution terms.
  • An agreement to meet for the exchange of sex for money: When an escort agrees to meet up with a client after a discussion of giving him sex (or other sexual acts) in exchange for him paying her fee, it is called assignation. This act of meeting up in person can be enough to get yourself arrested, if the intent to trade money and sex is apparent to law enforcement.
  • Intention to engage in prostitution: Even if your ad explicitly says that you charge for your time, not for any sexually-related activities, your intention to provide intimate attention to your client can be enough to give law enforcement officers cause to arrest you. If your ad implies that you plan to give your client a good roll in the sack, it demonstrates your intention to trade your escort fee for sex.

Keep in mind that several physical actions can demonstrate your intention to commit prostitution. These include, but are not limited to, possession of condoms (more than one or two of them); possession of large amounts of cash (assumed to be from previous encounters); possession of client contact information; wearing suggestive attire (not typically an issue for escorts); and possession of sex toys, bondage items or other sexually-related accessories. However, these things, alone, are not sufficient to create cause for your arrest. But, couple them with an explicit escort ad that lists sexual services you provide and you may give authorities enough evidence that intention is present.

When an escort is put to trial for prostitution charges, a jury decides her fate. Prior to the beginning of the trial, the judge gives specific instructions to the jury. They are usually directed to hand down a guilty verdict when implications lead them to believe that an escort committed prostitution through her intentions and actions, even if she did not explicitly demonstrate it or promise it. Jury members are instructed to use their common sense, knowledge of slang, understanding of implied intent and the totality of circumstances. The totality of circumstances comes into play when considering an escort’s ad, the type of site she listed it on (whether it’s a known site for promoting the exchange of sex for money) and her actions. If enough evidence exists to suggest that an escort intended to provide sexual services to her client as part of the business transaction, a jury will convict her of prostitution.

Knowing the realm of the law is essential for keeping yourself out of trouble when you’re an escort. In addition to knowing the law, here are some things to consider about the differences between explicit and implicit marketing:

  • Even if your advertising doesn’t explicitly promise sex, your ad implies it based on where it appears. By posting profiles to sites where known prostitutes market themselves, your ad could be considered solicitation of prostitution. If your clients know, based on the types of ads that appear on a particular site where your ad can be viewed, that they can expect an intimate encounter with you, your marketing is more explicit than you may think. Law enforcement officials regularly monitor Backpage.com and similar sites to identify prostitutes for investigation, because the site is known for promoting sex for sale by escorts. You must use extreme caution to clearly inform clients that your fees are exclusively for your time and companionship, and not for sex.
  • Keywords in your profile or advertisements may bring you additional scrutiny. Law enforcement agencies regularly review online ads for keywords that lead them to believe an escort may be committing prostitution. These include slang terms and explicit sexual descriptions. Even adult entertainment services websites monitor their own content for posters who are breaking laws. Liz McDougall, attorney for Backpage, told CNN in 2011 that ads in the escort section are scanned for 25,000 different terms and code words linked to prostitution, sex trafficking and child exploitation. Each month, the site reports 400 suspicious ads to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. So, in other words, even if you make no promises to provide sexual services, be careful about including them in your profile. Someone could be watching.
  • The implied discussion of sexual acts can get you in trouble. Many escorts believe that when they inform clients about sexual activities they will not do with them, they are avoiding the topic of sex for money. However, the police see it differently. They perceive this as a discussion implying there are other activities that you will engage in with a client for a fee. When discussing your boundaries, be sure to clarify that the services you provide are companionship and time, not sex or any similar activities. With this disclaimer, you are helping to blur the legal lines of implicit intention.
  • Discussing sex activities with clients demonstrates intention to engage in prostitution. When planning an encounter, it puts you in a difficult position to talk about fantasy role-playing, special sexual requests (such as golden showers or sploshing) or engaging in sexting. They are all indirect promises of what a client can expect during an encounter and implicates you for prostitution, even if you insist that the activities are consensual sex during a period of companionship. Specific sexual details about upcoming encounters may cross the fine line between what you are charging for and what you truly provide to clients. Use extreme caution when discussing special plans for encounters.
  • Acceptance of your client’s intention to have sex during an encounter is considered prostitution. When a client contacts you looking for sex and you agree to meet with him for your fee, you are agreeing to prostitution in the eyes of the law, even if you insist that your fee is for your time. Despite the fact that you remind your client the encounter is based on companionship, knowingly entering into an agreement with your client who expects sex indicates that you are going along with his goal. You have to be very careful what you agree to do with a client. Ensure you both have an “understanding” without having to say anything more.
  • Ensure your advertising and profiles provide details about things clients can expect to get during encounters, besides sex. Indicate to your clients that they can laugh from your wit and sense of humor, be enlightened with your education and conversational skills, be nurtured through your compassion and affection and enjoy hanging out with you and your fun personality. Indicate that you listen well, wish to help him relax and provide him with a pleasant experience from reality. However, do not mention sex or physical intimacy in any way, in order to avoid legal scrutiny.
  • Avoid smutty details and lewd descriptions in your advertising. Some escorts use sexually-explicit language in their ads, describing acts for readers. They post sexually-suggestive photos (or ones containing nudity). All of these details, even if they don’t directly promise sex to clients, leave escorts open to clear implication of intent. Additionally, ads that include sexually-graphic language garner more legal attention than those written eloquently by an escort who does not publicize sex. Keep yourself looking innocent by focusing on the legal aspects of your escort offerings and demonstrate to clients you are more than just a quick bang.
  • Refuse to engage in discussions with clients about sex. If it is construed by law enforcement officials that you’ve gone along with a client’s request or suggestion for sex in exchange for your fee, you can be arrested. Acknowledgement of a client’s desires with a nod, smile or a wink can be grounds for your arrest. It’s in your best interest (and your client’s, too) to avoid the subject of sex and let the encounter take its course naturally. When a client begins to talk about sex, stop the conversation immediately and tell him that you see clients for encounters based on companionship and nothing more. Clearly state that your fee is to compensate you for your time.
  • Avoid using slang in your advertisements. Writing to clients that they will “get lucky” or guaranteeing them a “good time,” among using many other sexual phrases, suggests that your services include sex, not companionship. The words “full service” and “girlfriend experience (GFE)” are well-known industry terms that flag ads for law enforcement officials. Your ad and profile can still openly flirt with your prospective clients through sexually-charged language and lots of complimentary suggestions.
  • Remember that discretion is key. Your experienced clients understand that the goal of an encounter doesn’t have to be spelled out. They know what they want, and they know that you are aware of it, too. Real clients understand the fine line between escorting and prostitution. They know that escorts charge a client to spend time with them, and whatever happens during that time will happen. Escorts provide affection, friendship and attention to their clients, in addition to occasional intimacy. And, they also know that prostitutes charge for the sex act (intercourse, blowjob, etc.), instead of by the time it takes. Being discreet about your relationships with clients is the way to go when you’re an escort.
  • Always be aware that someone can be paying attention to your actions and conversations. Law enforcement investigators can listen in on your conversations and track your online communications. They can watch you interact with clients in public places. To keep yourself safe, maintain professional conduct and avoid loosening your guidelines about communication with clients, even your regular ones.

Jun 12 2013