Escort Agency Workers
Who They Are
Escort agency workers are predominantly female, with some transgender and male workers. There are also a few agencies employing straight male escorts. There are no gay male escort agencies. Escort agency workers may also engage in other types of sex work such as street-based sex work, self-employed sex work or brothel work. Escort agency sex workers are classified as contractors, not employees, and therefore must pay their own tax. In 2018 there were 22 licensed (legal) escort agencies and an unknown number of unlicensed (illegal) escort agencies across Victoria.
How They Work
Clients contact an agency via a website or phone line. The agency arranges the booking, takes payment, and liaises between the escort and client. The escort is then sent to the client’s home or hotel. Some escort agencies employ professional drivers to transport their escorts; these drivers also provide a level of security to the worker. There may or may not be a physical premises used by the agency, and where there is, no sex work services take place there.
Under current legislation, escort agency sex workers are required to provide a certificate of attendance from a doctor, certifying that they have undergone a sexually transmissible infection (STI) test. They do not give the escort management results of the STI test, only the certificate of attendance. A certificate is required every three months.
Like licensed brothels, by law¹, escort agencies:
Licensed (legal) escort agency prices range from $150/hr to $2000/hr depending on the service. The average price is $350/hr, however, the escort must give 50% to the agency and then pay a driver out of their remaining 50%. This frequently means that the sex worker may earn as little as 40% of the total booking fee. In 2018 a high earning agency escort charged $40,000 for a week-long overseas trip with a client.
While working for an escort agency, sex workers do not carry the burden of arranging advertising, photography or attending to texts and phone calls. Unlike private sex workers, escort agency sex workers are NOT required to register with the government or obtain an SWA registration number – obligations which are widely opposed by the majority of sex workers.
The biggest disadvantage of working for an escort agency is an economic one, namely that the establishment takes a percentage of a worker’s earnings. By law, licensed escort agencies cannot advertise for new sex workers, so a worker seeking employment with an agency must approach the establishment directly.
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2020
Last updated: 7 August 2020